Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas a Premier League target
Costa Rica star stopper Keylor Navas is being linked with the likes of 2014/15 Premier League title hopes Liverpool (7/1) and Arsenal (9/1), as well as Everton (9/2 top four chances) and Atletico Madrid, following his fine performances at the World Cup.
The 27-year-old currently plays for Levante, and made 17 clean sheets in 37 La Liga games last season, but it is his displays in Brazil that have really put him on the world map. His contract runs out next summer and he can be snapped up for as little as £6.5m, which is his release clause.
So far at the World Cup, Navas has managed to concede just twice, after playing against footballing giants and past major tournament champions Uruguay, Italy, England and Greece, despite his side being given no hope before the finals.
Costa Rica are remarkably now in the last eight, where they next meet the Netherlands, and are priced at 6/1 to win in 90 minutes, and 18/5 to qualify for the semis. Navas’ nation are priced at 11/2 to keep a clean sheet in normal time.
The Central Americans, meanwhile, are 40/1 chances to somehow pull off what would be arguably one of the greatest sporting achievements, by winning the World Cup.
Navas’ best performance was perhaps in his last match against Greece, where he managed to fend off 13 shots on target, and only conceded in the 91st minute, when Costa Rica were down to 10 men.
That brought the game to extra time, and ultimately penalties, where Navas was the hero, making an unbelievable stop to prevent Theofanis Gekas’ well hit spot kick out hitting the back of the net.
After the game, Navas said: “We left our fear at home – that is why we came through a group that had three former World Cup winners in it. We are not afraid of anyone.
“I have had a tough journey to get where I am but I’ve fought hard and now I’m reaping the rewards.”
He has been much appreciated throughout the world as a result, and his teammate Celso Borges spoke highly of him. “He was born on Mars or Venus or something. He’s fantastic,” the midfielder said.
“He has given us so much. He’s a leader on and off of the pitch. With his saves we always get second chances and he’s a great person. He deserves all this attention.
“The secret was already out I think, but this has taken him to centre stage. But we knew it from the start. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s awesome.”
Costa Rica great and former Derby County and Manchester City cult hero striker Paulo Wanchope, who is currently national assistant coach, said: “Navas is the best keeper in Spain and I think he is the best keeper at the World Cup. He has made some really great saves – of course the penalty – and I think he will end up at a great, great club.
“A lot of our players are playing for their future and we will see what happens with the likes of [midfielder] Yeltsin Tejeda or Navas.”