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Five goalkeepers that could replace Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid

Sports Mole identifies five goalkeepers that could replace Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid next season.

Thibaut Courtois's fairytale spell with Atletico Madrid will reportedly come to an end this summer, with Chelsea preparing to recall the 22-year-old to Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian goalkeeper has emerged into one of the best stoppers in European football during his three campaigns in Spain and has been a key part of their success this season - which has seen the capital outfit win their first La Liga title since 1996 and reach the final of the Champions League.

There is little doubt that Atletico want to extend the agreement, but it is widely understood that Courtois will return to Chelsea as their number one next season.

With that in mind, Sports Mole has identified five goalkeepers that Atletico could sign to replace the former Genk youngster.

Thibaut Courtois celebrates Atletico Madrid scoring against Barcelona on April 09, 2014.© Getty Images

1. Keylor Navas (Levante)

Navas might not be a name that is too familiar to those outside of Spain, but the 27-year-old is one of the most talented goalkeepers in European football. The Costa Rican international kept 17 clean sheets for Levante in La Liga this season and has been lauded for his shot-stopping, distribution and presence between the sticks.

It is understood that Navas is keen to seek pastures new this summer, with a number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Everton, linked with a move. Champions League football is believed to be extremely important in his decision, however, something which Atletico will be able to provide. It is also believed that Navas's family are settled in Spain and therefore a move to Madrid would surely prove an attractive opposition.

Like a number of teams in La Liga, Levante are not exactly flush with cash and therefore a transfer figure in the region of £8m should be enough to convince the Valencia-based side to part with the goalkeeper, who will travel to the World Cup as Costa Rican number one this summer.

Keylor Navas of Levante in action during the La Liga match between Levante UD and RCD Espanyol at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia on October 26, 2013© Getty Images

2. Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)

Casilla is another goalkeeper that has impressed in La Liga this season. It wasn't too long ago that the 27-year-old was linked with a return to former club Real Madrid, whom he left to join Espanyol in 2007. Since then, the experienced stopper has thrived in Barcelona with regular football.

Espanyol boss Javier Aguirre has confirmed that he will depart the Spanish side this summer, placing the long-term future of a number of their key players up in the air. Casilla is still young in terms of goalkeeping, while his head would surely be turned by the opportunity of playing Champions League football and challenging for the title on a regular basis.

Like Navas, Casilla will not command a major transfer fee, with Espanyol reportedly valuing the former Spanish youth international in the region of £6m. At 6'3", Casilla would provide a similar presence to Courtois between the sticks.

Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla of RCD Espanyol goes for a high ball during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Real Betis Balompie at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on September 1, 2013© Getty Images

3. Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal, on loan from Atletico)

Atletico could ultimately decide to look in-house when replacing Courtois next season. Asenjo joined the capital outfit from Real Valladolid in 2009, but has made just 18 league appearances for the club. The stopper is still just 24 years of age, however, and impressed while on loan at Villarreal this season.

In truth, the former Spanish youth international has had incredible bad luck in terms of competition. The emergence of David de Gea, who is now with Manchester United, harmed his chances of regular football, before another of Europe's best young goalkeepers – Courtois – arrived on the scene.

As it stands, Asenjo will return to Atletico this summer and he has shown that he has the capabilities and temperament to perform at the top level on a regular basis. It would certainly be the cheaper option, but there are still doubts as to whether head coach Diego Simeone is convinced of Asenjo's credentials at the highest level.

Goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo in action for Villarreal on March 17, 2014.© Getty Images

4. Pepe Reina (Napoli, on loan from Liverpool)

As it stands, 31-year-old Reina will return to parent club Liverpool this summer following a season-long loan with Napoli. Barcelona have been strongly linked with a move for the Spanish international, but that particular interest has cooled over the last few weeks. It is no secret that Reina wants to return to Spain and Atletico could provide an attractive opposition.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers favours Simon Mignolet between the sticks and it is difficult to imagine Reina sitting on the bench at Anfield next season. His close relationship with Napoli boss Rafael Benitez places the Italian side in a strong position, but Reina's desire to return to his home nation is strong.

The former Barcelona youngster would perhaps be the most costly stopper in this particular list, but has the experience of playing at the top level, including in the Champions League.

Pepe Reina of Spain in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B match between Spain and Tahiti on June 20, 2013© Getty Images

5. Andres Fernandez (Osasuna)

The 27-year-old is the surprise name on this list, but could prove to a shrewd signing for Atletico this summer. Following Osasuna's relegation to the Segunda, it is difficult to imagine Fernandez remaining beyond the transfer window. He has been at El Sadar since 2007, but is expected to be one of a number of their players that seek pastures new this summer.

Despite Osasuna's struggles, Fernandez kept nine clean sheets in the league and impressed against Barcelona, Atletico and Real Madrid this season. His performances have reportedly not gone unnoticed, with a number of European clubs preparing to test the water.

With Andres settled in Spain, however, Atletico would surely be the favourites should any official interest arise. At 27, the Spaniard should be coming into his prime as a goalkeeper and has demonstrated his ability to perform in La Liga. It would be a cheaper option for Atletico, but certainly not a second-rate one.

Osasuna's goalkeeper Andres Fernandez celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match Osasuna vs Real Madrid at the Reyno de Navarra in Pamplona on December 14, 2013© Getty Images

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Thibaut Courtois celebrates Atletico Madrid scoring against Barcelona on April 09, 2014.
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