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In Focus: Navas was Keylor-made for Forest's relegation scrap
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Dan Fitch
Keylor Navas has signed for Nottingham Forest on loan
Keylor Navas has signed for Nottingham Forest on loan

It is not often that a club signs a three-time Champions League winner to help them to survive a relegation fight. 

That is exactly what Nottingham Forest did on deadline day when they signed the former Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. 

It was a busy final 24 hours in the transfer window for the Reds, who also completed permanent deals on Tuesday to sign Felipe and Jonjo Shelvey. 

Ahead of the second leg of Forest’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United, we look at what to expect from Navas and where his future lies. 

Henderson injury

The first-choice goalkeeper at the City Ground this season has been Dean Henderson, who also signed for the club on a loan deal. 

The 25-year old has made 20 appearances in all competitions for the promoted club since arriving in the summer from United and has saved three penalties in the Premier League. 

A thigh injury in the recent 2-0 win over Leicester has sidelined their No1, which resulted in Wayne Hennessey deputising in the subsequent draw with Bournemouth and a 3-0 defeat in the first-leg of their semi-final clash. 

With Henderson set to be out for some weeks, manager Steve Cooper went looking for a better quality replacement than Welsh stopper Hennessey, who was criticised for his performance against the Red Devils.

The surprise choice was Navas, a goalkeeper with 110 caps for Costa Rica and a large number of medals amassed over a glittering career. 

Fierce competition

Keylor Navas has mainly been a substitute for PSG this season
Keylor Navas has mainly been a substitute for PSG this season

The 36-year old has only played twice for PSG this season, with the French champions favouring Italian international Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

Yet Navas did start in all three of Costa Rica’s games at the World Cup. He captained the side as they lost 7-0 to Spain, defeated Japan 1-0 and were then beaten 4-2 by Germany. 

This was his fourth season in France after moving from Los Blancos in 2019. Navas won two league titles and three domestic cups, while making a total of 108 appearances for the Parisians.

During his career, the stopper has faced competition from the very best. 

Recently there has been Donnarumma, while he arrived at Real at a time when Iker Casillas was still at the club before later battling with Thibaut Courtois. 

Navas almost moved to Old Trafford in 2015 as part of a proposed deal to bring David de Gea to Real. Instead he remained in the Spanish capital and was the starting keeper as the club won three consecutive Champions League titles.

Superb agility

Keylor Navas is known for his agility
Keylor Navas is known for his agility

Despite his many medals and individual achievements, Navas has always faced the threat of being a goalkeeper that elite clubs felt that they could improve upon. 

In contrast, he arrives in the East Midlands as a superstar signing who will walk straight into their first team. The 36-year old is likely to make his debut in the Premier League against Leeds on Sunday. 

It will be fascinating to see how Navas fares in England at this late stage of his career. Opposition managers are likely to test his ability to deal with crosses, with the loanee being relatively short for a keeper at 6ft 1in. 

That lack of height has been compensated for by the athleticism of the Costa Rican. 

He has always possessed quick feet and superb levels of agility, which allied to his positional sense, enabled him to become one of the world’s top keepers. 

Traditionally, these athletic attributes are ones that you expect to fade as a player ages. We will see how much remains in his tank in the coming weeks. 

Contract expiry

Keylor Navas captained Costa Rica during the World Cup in Qatar
Keylor Navas captained Costa Rica during the World Cup in Qatar

At a late stage of a career in which he has won so much, Navas still has a desire to play regularly.

He almost joined Napoli late on in the summer window and has now taken up the challenge of helping the Tricky Trees remain in the Premier League. 

With Henderson likely to be unavailable for some weeks, there will be an opportunity for Navas to make the position his own between now and the end of the season. 

His contract with PSG will expire in the summer of 2024. Should Forest stay up, they could have a decision to make regarding which of their on-loan goalkeepers they want between the posts next season.


Premier LeagueNottingham ForestKeylor NavasEFL Cup
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