Should Atlético sign a starting goalkeeper?

Manzano and Caminero are looking for a keeper to replace David de Gea

Joel, De Gea and Asenjo in training (zamoracf.es)

Joel, De Gea and Asenjo in training (zamoracf.es)

Now that David de Gea is gone, Atlético head coach Gregorio Manzano is in search of a replacement goalkeeper.

Following De Gea’s press conference on Wednesday, Manzano told Spanish television station Canal + Liga that the club’s priority is to “sign a forward and a goalkeeper”.

That Atleti need a quality striker to replace Sergio Aguero once the Argentine chooses his new home is hardly a topic up for debate, but should the club be looking for a starting keeper?

Between the sticks, los Colchoneros are currently left with Joel Robles and Sergio Asenjo.

Many Rojiblancos feel youth system product Joel is ready to step into his cantera mate’s shoes next season, despite the fact that the 21-year-old has only made two official first team appearances in the past two seasons.

The Spanish youth international recently made his feelings clear, threatening he would leave Atleti if a number one keeper is signed and he is relegated to the bench for a second consecutive season.

Joel, who has no shortage of suitors in la Liga, would be the most cost effective option for our 2011/12 campaign and is slated to be our starter next year.

Then there’s Asenjo.

Sergio pretty much feels the same way as Joel, recently telling Yahoo! Eurosport Spain, “I suppose Joel and I are the two goalkeepers on the first team. If another one arrives he will be a tough competitor.”

The 22-year-old then warned “in the event a third keeper is signed to play as the starter and considering what happened last year, I prefer playing and perhaps I would leave again in order to avoid impeding the development of either one of us.”

Asenjo was referring to his decision to play for Málaga in the second half of last season on loan, where he re-injured his right knee.

“I’m working very hard to return as soon as possible and show the club it was worth signing me,” he said last week.

According to AS, Atlético sporting director Jose Luis Caminero traveled to Brussels on Tuesday to “initiate talks” with Belgian Pro League side Racing Genk for 19-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The Belgian youngster was named ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ of Belgium’s top flight for the 2010/11 season and started 44 matches for Genk last campaign.

While Courtois is younger than both Joel and Asenjo, he has certainly seen his fair share of first division action.

The question with the Belgian is, should Atleti shell out the reported €4 to €5 million price tag for another young, largely unproven talent that would drive away a home grown product like Joel who would cost us nothing?

Another perhaps more sensible option would be to sign an experienced backup.

AS claim Atleti are interested in Arsenal’s 34-year-old keeper Manuel Almunia. The veteran has a year left on his contract with the Gunners and reportedly wants to close out his career in his home country.

Almunia’s signing would be the type that would work as a fail-safe in case Joel fails to convince as the starter.

Do you think the club should sign a starting keeper, or do you think Joel is ready to step up to the challenge?


  • Sash

    Bring in a veteran keeper who wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench. Give Joel a chance as our number one keeper, if he fails to convince then we have the veteran.
    If he does good then loan out Asenjo in the winter transferwindow.

    I would hate it if we drove away Joel…

  • In my opinion, yes. But having Joel (21 years) and Asenjo (22), only the possibility of a veteran who cover the injury of Asenjo.

    Perfect: Ricardo (39), the last dobleteman.

  • urban

    We need our own dudek.

  • SoLobo

    Almunia would be perfect for us! And he does want to end his carreer in Spain.

  • Joel definitely deserves a chance. He’s impressed during the few times he’s got to play in the senior team, but the fact is that he has done very good in the inferior categories as well. It would be sad to see the club sign a goalkeeper like Diego López or Reina when we have two great keepers in Joel and Asenjo.

    Courtois would be a exciting signing, absolutely, but not in this case. It would be a strange complement to the goalies we already have.

    Agree with “elhumanisto”: Ricardo!

  • Gert

    If we would buy Courtois (which would be good in my opinion), we should send Joel out on loan. Let him get a proper match play. And keep Asenjo as a backup, and hope he doesn’t get injured again…

  • 7th

    I dont want nether alumina nor curtious alumnia sucks,

    just bring piatti and a replacement of aguero.

  • Another problem. If Atlético buys a young goalkeeper to be #1, Joel ask for his departure.

    That is, with Asenjo injured, Atlético still have only one healthy goalkeeper.

  • NiñoTorres

    Just a keeper with experience who wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench, but could also step in if needed, such as Ricardo. Aranzubia would also be a good option, although he would probably want to play.

  • Heißenberg

    Joel deserves a real chance, he did good every time when he got the chance to play. We just need to bring experienced goalkeeper as a backup if things go wrong and Joel doens’t fulfill the expectations. I guess Almunia wouldn’t be that bad, neither would Ricardo. Asenjo should be sen’t on a loan.

  • starvs

    Like others have said, we need a vet to back up and mentor Joel. Priorities need to be a central attacker/playmaker, left wing, striker, goalie, in that order.

  • palc

    It would be better if we brought in an experienced and proven keeper like Diego Lopez. But Joel do deserve a chance. Hmmm. Whatever the board does, its fine by me as long as they dont bring in Almunia to be our nr. 1. Then I will commit suicide.

  • Sweden

    Agree, Almunia is someone I don’t want between our posts!

  • Anything BUT Almunia, if he comes, I’ll hang myself!
    Ricardo or Aranzubia would be good, I agree with NinoTorres.

  • dgsozkan

    No need to bring a #1 gk ,we already have one. But as everybody says, a veteran who doesn’t mind sitting on the bench will not be bad. But it would be insane if Manzano won’t give Joel a chance.

  • Flo

    Yeah bring in an old experienced keeper who can pressure Joel. If it goes wrong we can sign an alternative in the winter transfer window. But Joel should get a chance.

  • Chalet

    I am with 7th, Palc, Sweden and Stefan.
    If we would consider to sign Almunia I´d probably run riot.

    We should give Joel a run between the sticks and hope for Asenjo to recover asap.
    An additional good veteran keeper can be useful in many ways – but NOT Almunia!

  • Davide

    We need a experienced back up keeper for many reasons. First of all to be the fail-safe scenario with Joel and Asenjo as alot of you mentioned. The second reason is to help Joel and some of our younger keepers to grow.

    Wouldn’t mind bringing in retired Van de Sar as a goalkeeper coach for a year or two 🙂

    I agree that Joel at least deserves a chance. Give him all the pre-season matches at least, and then we will still have time to bring a new keeper if thing go horribly wrong (i doubt i will), but still.

  • Davide

    A totally goalkeeper unrelated update. Rossi from Villarreal is being heavily linked with Atlético right now. Sources report that Rossi has already been in meeting with Caminero and has accepted to join Los Rojiblancos and will be the highest earner in the club if Villarreal agrees with the transferfee (which is also said to be a pretty high amoun offered by Atlético). Looks like moste of De Geas transfermoney will going to Rossi (i hope). Best piece of news to hit the Atletishores for months. If Caminero pulls this of than i will be impressed witj his start at the club.

  • Lubo

    @Davide
    I don’t think I like that rumour. I mean, Rossi is a great player, he had spectacular season, but he’s way too expensive I think. His price right now is somewhere between 30-35 mil. Maybe I’m wrong, but where the hell is the point in releasing our players because of their high salaries (Maxi, Simao, Ujfa, (Forlan?)) when we sign a player earning maybe 8 millions a year. That amount of money should be used on more than one player I think (Lamela or Ganso + Arda or Piatti). But yes, I would be impressed with Caminero too. And would be impressed even more when he manages to find a new club for Raul Garcia.

  • Javi

    I like Lubo’s thinking

  • Abdullah

    Bravooooooooooooooo Lubo .. Very good and nice thinking …

  • Chalet

    Lubo for President! 😉

  • palc

    Lubo! Lubo! Lubo! Lubo!

  • D.

    Courtois is really great but I’m afraid we never can buy him for only 4 or 5 million.
    Chelsea is also in the running for this one.

  • starvs

    Even if signing Rossi is not the optimal use of funds, the fact that Atleti is willing (assuming rumors are true) to go after an expensive big gun like that is reassuring.

  • starvs

    Also, no one here is going to be thinking about a striker in two weeks after Forlan tears up the Copa America.

  • Nick

    @starvs He tore it up at the World Cup and look how that turned out…

  • starvs

    @Nick, I’m going to write Forlan’s whole last season off due to QSF and assume it was just an anamoly. Hopefully for all our sake I am proven right.

  • k14

    by checking “Thibaut Courtois” on youtube, he seems really swift with great response time.

    I think he would be a good deal.