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Five potential replacements for Andriy Lunin at Real Madrid

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Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images

Andriy Lunin emerged as Real Madrid’s saviour last season, stepping up admirably in place of Thibaut Courtois in goal.

Emulating the Belgian’s ability to step up in big games, Lunin heroically produced many prominent displays when the stakes were highest, particularly in the UEFA Champions League against RB Leipzig and Manchester City.

Lunin started at the bottom of the goalkeeping hierarchy, having to surpass Kepa Arrizabalaga before cementing his place as a regular starter in the lineup.

Despite going on an impressive streak, he could not retain his place in the team upon Courtois’ return. And Lunin was demoted to a second-fiddle role in the closing stages of the campaign due to the Belgian’s immense pedigree and status at Real Madrid.

Following his exceptional campaign, though, Lunin is now hesitant to remain as a backup goalkeeper.

Yet to respond to Real Madrid’s contract renewal offer, he is seriously contemplating a departure from Real Madrid in search of regular first-team opportunities elsewhere

In the event that the 25-year-old hits the exit door, Real Madrid will be compelled to once again scour the goalkeeper market, just as they did last summer.

Here are five potential replacements for the Ukranian star.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga would welcome a return to Real Madrid. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

As uncertainty clouds Lunin’s future, Kepa could find himself back in the royal white jersey after just recently hitting the exit door. Real Madrid values Kepa’s worth as a back-up goalie, especially since he has already acclimated to the club.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are reportedly receptive to the Spaniard’s departure and would not pose many roadblocks if he leaves on loan for a successive transfer window.

In fact, Kepa is also eager to reunite with Los Blancos, with reports mentioning that he is ready to reject lucrative deals from Saudi Arabia in a bid to return to the Spanish capital.

Joan Garcia

Joan Garcia is on Real Madrid’s radar (Photo courtesy: RCD Espanyol official website)

Real Madrid have reportedly set their sights on Joan Garcia, the 23-year-old goalkeeper from Espanyol, who enjoyed a stellar campaign last season.

Rising to prominence as a starter earlier this year, Garcia has become a pivotal figure for the team that was riddled with relegation in 2023. His standout performances have played a crucial role in Espanyol’s successful promotion campaign back to the top flight.

With such credentials, Garcia presents an intriguing prospect for Real Madrid, although they may face fierce competition from English clubs for his signature.

Considering his age and high ceiling, Joan Garcia stands as an investment for the future, while also being able to chime in whenever Courtois is unavailable. Experience in Spain also renders him an appealing option.

David de Gea

Still without a club. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

David de Gea is a familiar name in the Madrid newspapers, having been linked with the club for the past several years.

Last summer, Real Madrid were on the brink of securing De Gea on a free transfer before opting for Kepa instead.

Now, with De Gea still without a club, he remains an enticing option once again. Despite being 33 years old and nearing the twilight of his career, his vast experience at the highest level with Manchester United makes him a dependable choice.

Moreover, De Gea could be a cost-effective solution for the Merengues. With Real Madrid already keeping tabs on several targets to bolster other areas of the squad, they may be compelled to penny-pinch in the goalkeeping department.

Diogo Costa

Diogo Costa is a rising star. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Diogo Costa recently bowed out of the UEFA Euro but enjoyed a match-winning display against Slovenia, where he pulled off many incredible saves and eventually won the game for Portugal in penalty shootouts.

While the new president of FC Porto Andre Villas-Boas has no desire to sell him, Costa’s agent Jorge Mendes could pull some strings behind the scenes. In fact, reports have mentioned that if Lunin departs, Mendes could offer Costa as an alternative.

Acquiring a goalkeeper who is a nailed starter for his national team and is on the ascendancy would certainly allow Real Madrid to adeptly fill Lunin’s big boots.

But given that he is an important player for both club and country, signing Costa solely as a backup option is not expected to be a walk in the park.

Giorgi Mamardashvili

Giorgi Mamardashvili has been on Real Madrid’s radars in the past. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Another player who enjoyed a dominant Euro campaign is Giorgi Mamardashvili, who arguably cemented himself as the best goalkeeper of the tournament with Georgia.

Mamardashvili plies his trade for Valencia and is considered an incredibly complete goalkeeper, known for his sharp reflexes and ability to play out from the back.

Before settling for the signing of Kepa last summer, Mamardashvili was one of the names on Real Madrid’s radar. As such, interest in him could once again be reinvigorated with the club now seeking Lunin’s replacement.

However, securing him on a temporary loan deal seems unlikely, especially since Valencia previously rejected such a proposition from Real Madrid, and Mamardashvili’s importance has only increased since then.

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Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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