Newcastle have been blessed over the years with some great goalkeepers, with Shay Given, Steve Harper and Tim Krul sharing the number 1 shirt for the best part of 15 years. Since Krul damaged his cruciate ligament, we have plenty of options but not a settled number 1. What could happen this summer?
Who holds the jersey at the moment?
Tough one to call. This season has seen three keeps arguably at number 1. Sels was brought in for a decent fee and was Rafa’s clear number 1 at the start of the season, starting the first 10 games or so. A loss of form has saw him struggling to now make the bench; it just has not worked out for him.
That led to Karl Darlow playing the most games this season, backing up a good stint in the side at the back end of last season. Inspired displays and saves and also been marred by the odd error but at just 26, he is young for a goalkeeper. He can certainly improve but is a good option to have.
However, Rob Elliott was injured most this season and was brought back into the starting 11 eleven for the final few games when fit. You get the sense Rafa rates Elliott above Darlow and when asked if Darlow is number 1 Rafa has never back him publically, always insisting “ We have three good keepers.”
Another option is forgotten man Tim Krul. An excellent servant and shot stopper, he has been invaluable to Newcastle in the past. He doesn’t look the same since his injury though and some poor displays on loan at AZ Alkmaar this year have saw them sending back to NUFC. He only has 1 year left on his contract and his long association with Newcastle may just be up.
Freddie Woodman has also completed at impressive loan spell at Kilmarnock but expect him to loaned out again next year. He is seen very much as a great option for the future, not for now.
Wil Rafa buy another goalkeeper?
Despite four solid options, rumours won’t just go away that Rafa wants to buy another goalkeeper this summer. With so much depth already, if he does dip into the market it would not be for another squad player but for a clear number 1. Names linked so far have tended to be mainly from abroad (Napoli’s Pepe Reina being one) and it will be interesting watching this one develop. The fact Rafa has rotated this year does suggest to me he is not convinced entirely of any of the current custodians.
Who may be sold and who will start next season?
Whether we sign a new keeper or not, 5 into 3 places just doesn’t go. I think Woodman will be loaned out, meaning at least one will be sold or maybe two if we sign another goalkeeper. I personally think we will sign another new goalkeeper and Rafa will go with Elliott and or Darlow as his competition, which would be a great place to be.
Sels clearly hasn’t worked out and Krul needs a fresh move to reignite his career. Newcastle need to invest big funds next year and a new goalkeeper is nowhere near as important as other parts of the pitch but as always, quality additions are welcome.