The Chronicle revealed yesterday that a new goalkeeper is still on Benitez’s shopping list ahead of the January window, with them sharing FOUR names that could be on Rafa’s radar this winter – West Ham’s Adrian, Napoli’s Pepe Reina, Spurs’ Michel Vorm and Real Madrid’s Kiko Casilla.
Several fans understandably felt that a keeper was not high on our priority list over the summer, and whilst a striker and number 10 still seem the most lacking areas of our side ahead of the January window, we’ve started to see why Rafa wanted a new no.1 so badly.
Elliot has had a up and down start to the season, with some of his clear limitations being exposed. Darlow has come in and done a good job so far in the last two games, however he was nearly sold over the summer and is unlikely to be in Benitez’s long-term plans.
Here’s the FOUR keepers The Chronicle reckon we could look at this winter, along with our verdict on each:
“Made his first start of the season earlier this month against Manchester City and was arguably man of the match as he made some top-drawer saves. City won 2-1 but Adrian came out with his head held high. With Joe Hart looking less than secure between the sticks for the Hammers, there’s talk that new manager David Moyes may well stick with Adrian as well as reports that West Ham want him to sign a new contract. But Adrian has been first choice previously before spending months on the bench – if Benitez can guarantee him first-team football, he might just join.”
Our verdict: He’s been frustrated by a lack of game time at West Ham so will be looking for a move you’d think. There had been doubts over his form, after a mixed few seasons with the Hammers, but his outstanding display at Man City last weekend showed that he’s still a top class shot stopper. He’d be another Spaniard to add to our ranks and an upgrade on what we have – although not the ball playing keeper Rafa seems to want.
“The one that got away. Benitez wanted a reunion with Reina after previously working with him at Liverpool and Napoli. United reportedly refused to pay the price asked for Reina and he has gone on to start 11 games for the Italian side, but importantly has not signed a new contract yet. His current deal runs out in the summer and that might just tempt United to lodge a bid.”
Our verdict: I was dissappointed we didn’t get this one done over the summer. He may be reaching the twilight years of his career, but he’s still doing a good job at Napoli – one of Europe’s in-form sides over the past few years – and is technically as good as they get as far as keepers go (something Darlow and Elliot aren’t). Think he’d add a lot both on and off the pitch.
“Arguably now third choice at Tottenham but even at 34 is still very capable of doing a good job in the Premier League. Made his name at Swansea before heading to London and found it tough to dislodge Hugo Lloris from the No 1 spot. If a loan deal could be struck, it might work for all parties.”
Our verdict: I’m unsure how good he is these days after a few years on the bench at Spurs, but he certainly looked the part during his time with Swansea. A loan move would make sense.
“A name that was constantly linked in the summer. Benitez admitted then that he was not going to be afraid to use his contacts in Spain to ask the bigger clubs for opportunities to sign players on loan. Casilla has played a handful of times this season for Real Madrid but is thought to be looking for first-team football.”
Our verdict: An unknown quantity for me, but you’d be surprised if he was poor being the number two at the biggest club in the world. Rafa will know him well and may be able to use his contacts to strike a deal here?
Which one would you like to see Rafa go for in January – or do you have another keeper in mind that would be worth a look?