According to the links in the press Newcastle have signed, or are about to sign, Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
The 25-year-old is said to be coming to Newcastle as a direct replacement for the recently departed Fraser Forster who completed another season long loan deal to Celtic yesterday.
If there is any truth in this, and I have a suspicion that there won’t be as the reports originate from the Daily Mail, then it kind of leaves me scratching my head a little bit. It’s a pointless exercise that serves no real purpose as we already have more goalkeepers in reserve. Why rush out and bring in a third choice keeper when we could quite easily give that space to one of our own like, Ole Soderberg? Signing Elliot is an ingenious solution to a problem that doesn’t actually exist.
Part of the allure, for me anyway, of allowing Forster to join Celtic again, is that it’s a move that makes everyone happy. Neil Lennon is happy he has got his man, Forster is happy as he’ll be getting first-team games, Ashley will be happy as he has trimmed the wagebill again (you have to save pennies you know..), I’m happy as we’ve shifted a player who couldn’t even catch a cold and it gives us another space in the 25 man squad. Not that the last bit really matters at the moment anyway.
Bearing all that in mind I was quite prepared to see one of our prospects move up the pecking order. Soderberg has been around a while now and is improving. He is another one of a string of highly-rated goalkeepers so I had assumed that he would be rewarded by being moved that one step closer to the first team, much like he was last season when Forster was at Celtic. It seems straight-forward enough doesn’t it?
So what happens instead? We go after a 25-year-old keeper who will need to be registered to play, has limited time left in his career (yes I know, 25-years-old isn’t old, but it’s more limited that Soderberg anyway), and has never played Premier League football. It’s wasting money (however little, remember the pennies!) where it doesn’t need to be spent, especially when you consider that if it ever came to having to play our third-choice keeper the Soderberg and Elliot would have exactly the same amount of risk attached to them.
The only thing I can think of is that there is something wrong with Steve Harper. There has been a problem with his knees for sometime now and he even admits that if he has to retire then it will more than likely be something to with his knees. He has been out a long time now and has been absent from team selection despite apparently being fit. Maybe Harper’s number is up?
Who knows? I don’t. What I do know is that there are other more important positions that need strengthened ahead of us going for another goalkeeper. A striker would be nice. An actual left-back would be even better. If push came to shove we could probably limp through until January with our current goalkeepers which would give us time to really look for something. The other positions, I’m not so sure.
What do you make of it all?