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Villarreal 2014-15: Goalkeepers

We start our position-by-position look at this year's squad with an easy one, since our two 'keepers from last year return.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Unlike practically everyone in the Primera, Villarreal come into this season (a) knowing who their #1 keeper is and (b) with the same #1 and #2 as last season.

Sergio Asenjo is the clear #1.  The Submarine gave him a chance to resurrect his career last season, and he responded well, with seven clean sheets.

Asenjo isn't the flashiest goalkeeper--he tends to rely on excellent positioning and concentration skills to get the job done, but as the season went along he became more confident in giving instructions to the back line and generally being a bit more of a rah-rah guy.

It wasn't surprising that we wanted to make the loan deal permanent, and Atleti eventually accepted around €3.5m to do so, probably a bit more than we wanted to pay but a pretty fair deal overall (transfermarkt values him at around €5.5m).  And he's still only 25, and is under contract with us until 2019.

Juan Carlos returns as the second 'keeper, and will certainly see some Copa del Rey action if nothing else.   He's a very popular player among the fans--he came up through our youth ranks and of course was a key man in our promotion season, his fire and intensity serving to motivate everyone during our run to second place that year.   He's not very tall for a modern-day keeper, and has a tendency to come off his line rather often, but he is an incredible penalty-stopper.

Oddly enough, he seemed to be our designated keeper versus Real Sociedad last term, facing them twice in the Copa del Rey and once in the last game of the La Liga season.  Maybe that's why they were rumored to be interested in him this summer, but nothing came of it.

In summer 2013 the club evidently decided he wasn't going to be our #1 keeper, but he is certainly a capable #2.  At age 27, I'd expect him to be here a couple of more years anyhow (his contract runs to June 2017) unless someone comes in for him as a #1 keeper.  But unless he ends up playing a lot more than he has, I don't see that happening.   Which is okay--Juan Carlos is a good team player, and that's an important attribute.

Aitor Fernandez is the #3 keeper; we signed him from Athletic Club a couple of years back, and he's performed capably for the B team, but I do not expect we will see much of him with the first team this season.