Arsenal & Man City target crucial to Madrid's ambitions

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Form is temporary, class in permanent.

I'm almost embarrassed to throw in such a horrendous cliche, but given the situation I think it's reasonably suitable.

As the gossip gathers around Iker Casillas' potential exit from the Bernabeu, everywhere from the Emirates to the Etihad has been touted as a possible future location. A transfer that for the past decade would have been described as little short of ludicrous, now has the momentum behind it to place it in the 'distinct probability' draw in the cabinet of footballing transfers.

Iker Casillas remains, in my opinion, one of the most capable 'keepers on the planet. The fact that he's played second fiddle to no one between the sticks at the most famous club in football for the past decade is evidence enough of this. 

Prior to the last season of the Jose Mourinho era, Casillas had been the first team goalkeeper at Real Madrid since the turn of the millennium. Mourinho's decision to axe him in favour of Diego Lopez wasn't forced by a consistent string of errors, nor was it due to a decline in overall ability. The simply fact of the matter is that Madrid's number one got injured, and has been unable to regain his starting spot since.

For me, the mere notion of selling the World Cup winning captain is one that isn't worth even considering. At 32-years-old it could be argued that he has yet to hit his prime and, having spent the entirety of an already lengthy career at Madrid, is a massively influential dressing room character.

Since Ancelotti's appointment as head coach at Madrid, little has changed in terms of the first choice goalkeeper, with Lopez still the preferred choice. The 31-year-old is a good shot-stopper, no doubt about it, but to comparing him to Casillas would be similar to comparing Arjen Robben to Lionel Messi; quality is assured, but the calibre just isn't the same.

If the Spain international were to leave Madrid it would undoubtedly be a blow to the off-the-pitch harmony of the squad. Casillas is considered an icon at Madrid and, having played religiously since the first Galactico era, is admired and respected by all.

For the likes of those who are being linked with him, it's an absolute no brainer. Were he to arrive at Arsenal or City, his experience and pedigree would encompass more positives than any other purchase can offer.

Rather than languishing on the sidelines, Casillas needs to be offered a chance to redeem himself. If he were to depart then it would not only serve to damage Los Blancos, but massively benefit the side who bring him in.

A 'keeper of his quality will not wait around for long, and it's likely that if his situation fails to improve, Casillas will begin to look elsewhere in search of first-team football, particularly with the World Cup on the horizon.

Diego Lopez may be flavour of the month in terms of form, but it's Casillas who retains the ultimate class.

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