Europe's’ in-demand Goalkeepers
We have talked and read about strikers, midfielders and defenders who are giving several top managers in Europe sleepless nights, but, little attention has been given to the men between the sticks.
Who are the men behind the three, four or five defenders in a team (depending on the formation) that are sought after?
Gianluigi Donnarumma - AC Milan
When it was announced that Gianluigi Donnarumma would not be penning a new deal with AC Milan, Real Madrid were the first team to be linked with a move for the 18-year-old goalkeeping sensation. Donnarumma was on hand to make the most saves (146), according to stats. He also successfully claimed the most crosses (45) in Serie A last term.
David de Gea - Manchester United
Another goalkeeper linked with a big money move to Real Madrid, David De Gea could already have been plying his trade for the Spanish giants had it not been for a late-night hitch on deadline day back in 2015. The 26-year-old continues to excel for Manchester United, though endured a somewhat underwhelming season given his usual sky-high standards. Nevertheless, only Thibaut Courtois (16) and Hugo Lloris (15) kept more clean sheets then De Gea (14) in the Premier League last season, reinforcing his expert goalkeeping qualities.
Jan Oblak - Atletico Madrid
As arguably the best goalkeeper in Spain, it is little shock to see Jan Oblak linked with a big-money summer switch. Atletico Madrid's transfer ban makes any move for the 24-year-old a difficult one, with Los Colchoneros reluctant to sell any key first teamer this summer, but that has not stopped Manchester United, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain from registering an interest in the Slovenia number one.
Oblak registered a respectable save success rate of 72.4% in La Liga last season, with that figure rising to 84.1% in the Champions League.
The Slovenian also kept more clean sheets (15) than any other goalkeeper in Spain's top tier last term, despite missing eight games of the campaign through injury.
Wojciech Szczesny - Arsenal
On the back of two notable years in Italy, interest in Wojciech Szczesny is high. Juventus have been strongly linked with a move for the Poland international as a long-term replacement for Buffon at the Juventus Stadium, while Luciano Spalletti has recently talked up a reunion with the Arsenal goalkeeper at Inter. Szczesny kept more clean sheets (14) than any other goalkeeper in Serie A last term and has really come a long way since his nightmare showing for Arsenal at Southampton back in 2015.
Only Gianluigi Donnarumma (77.2%) had a better save success rate than Szczesny (75.3%) of goalkeepers to make 20 or more Serie A appearances last season, further reinforcing why interest in the Pole is so high.
Jack Butland - Stoke
Jordan Pickford's club-record breaking move to Everton has set a new standard for the way goalkeepers are valued this summer and Mark Hughes recently suggested that Jack Butland would be priced similarly. It means the Potters will now only consider offers of £30m for the England international. The 24-year-old made only five league appearances for Stoke last season due to a problematic ankle issue, but the towering shot-stopper remains one of the most highly thought of goalkeepers in England.
Kasper Schmeichel - Leicester
Leicester may have underwhelmed in their title defence, but Kasper Schmeichel is still highly regarded in the Premier League. On possible links with a move to Manchester United, father Peter said: "It would be a dream.