Former England goalkeeper David James says he believes one of the reasons David de Gea didn’t move to Real Madrid in the summer is because he feared he would become a backup to Keylor Navas.
Speculation surrounded the Manchester United shot stopper all summer long but nothing looked close to being done until deadline day. Since the collapse of his proposed transfer to the Spanish capital collapse, de Gea has gone on to sign a four-year deal with the Red Devils.
Navas, meanwhile, has established himself firmly as the number one at the Santiago Bernabeu and has conceded just three goals in 12 games this season.
Speaking to the Press Association, James said he believed Navas was a better goalkeeper than de Gea, and even recommended him to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger two years ago before the Gunners signed David Ospina.
“You look at Navas at Real Madrid, it’s no wonder De Gea didn’t go there. When you think that Navas is such a good goalkeeper that De Gea wasn’t necessarily going to be the No. 1 anyway,” he commented.
And he added: “I think it was possibly a reason, because Navas is awesome. He has been for a few years now. I enquired a couple of years ago to Arsene Wenger, ‘Why don’t you go for Navas, £8 million or £10m buy-out?’ He had [David] Ospina on his card, he went for Ospina, didn’t he?
“Navas has had an exceptional start to the season in Spain and justified my theory that he is up there, if I say the top three, as a loose number, in the world because he is that good. I think he is [better than De Gea], yeah. I think his all-round game, he’s got a lot more about him. Don’t get me wrong, David De Gea’s performed at an amazing level over the last three years.”