Realistic January Signings – Part One: Goalkeepers

It’s strange being a Newcastle fan. It’s strange in general but this year it’s probably stranger than usual.

After all, in contrast to the past few transfer windows (approximately twenty-eight of them, but who’s counting?), this coming January there’s excitement about what we might do and who we might sign. But that excitement is, for most fans, tinged with desperation, because we know that we have to improve the squad to have a realistic chance of survival.

So, grabbing hold of that excitement with two hands and trying desperately to ignore that desperation, let’s look at a handful of players in each position who could join in January, starting with, sensibly, one of the few positions we don’t urgently need to fill: goalkeeper.

Dean Henderson – Manchester United

It’s hardly a hot take to suggest that we might sign the Cumbrian native this January (SkyBet have us at 5/2 to snap him up this winter), but that’s for good reason – he’s a good player in need of a move. De Gea seems to be first choice at Old Trafford and Henderson is too good to play backup, so chances are his agent will be touting his services over the next month. Is he an improvement on Dubravka? Yeah, I’d say so. He’s a strong shot stopper, good with his feet, endlessly confident, and at 24 he’s only likely to improve, while Dubravka has had a few recent injuries and isn’t averse to a howler or two, as Spain found out to their benefit these past Euros. The biggest stumbling block in any potential deal might, ironically, be the transfer fee. Man Utd are likely to ask through the roof for a young, English player tied down at Old Trafford until 2025, but if we start paying over the odds for players, especially in areas of the pitch that don’t need urgent attention, it risks setting a dangerous precedent for the years to come. If Henderson does rock up at St James’ Park in January, it’ll likely be a loan deal with an obligation to buy.

Thomas Strakosha – Lazio

Moving on to someone else who’s been linked with us in the gossip columns, though with much less regularity, and that’s Thomas Strakosha. The 18 times capped Albanian goalkeeper currently plays backup to Pepe Reina at Lazio, who are 8th in Serie A. That’s not the best sales pitch: Pepe Reina, at least judging from his six months at Villa in 2020, isn’t the keeper he once was, and Albania aren’t overflowing with top class goalkeepers. So why is he here? Well, because despite that, there’s a decent player in there, and (mostly) because his contract expires in the summer and he’d be available for a reduced fee. And let’s not forget the single greatest Strakosha has going for him: he’s not Karl Darlow. If he is signed, it’ll almost certainly be to provide better backup for Dubravka, not to replace him. Given that injuries have reduced to Dubrakva to just a handful of appearances so far this season, having a more capable deputy for the well-liked Slovak could be a sensible, if unspectacular, move.

André Onana – Ajax

How do you say ‘Shy bairns get nowt’ in Dutch? Part of the Ajax team who narrowly missed out on a Champions League final due to Lucas Moura’s last-gasp goal and touted as their next big money departure after the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, a move to previous club Barcelona (or any of Europe’s other giants) never materialised for Onana. Then came February 2021, where Onana was banned for 12 months, later reduced to 9, for testing positive for a banned substance. Because of that stain on his record, the buzz around the Cameroonian isn’t what it once was, but assuming he picks up anywhere near where he left off, Onana is a class act between the sticks. A strong shot-stopper who commands his area well, Onana’s undoubted strength is with the ball at his feet, passing out from the back. All that said, a January move would have its drawbacks, the largest of which would be the AFCON which could see Onana miss a months-worth of games. The only way I see us signing him in January is if we think it’s January or bust, as, like Strakosha, he’s another out of contract come the summer.

Should those three not be to your liking, there will be, of course, other goalkeepers available in January who we could look to sign. Sam Johnstone and Jiri Pavlenka both have expiring contracts and could offer strong competition to Dubrakva, while Bernd Leto and Neto are two bigger-name keepers in need of game time.

But what do you think? Is there someone I’ve forgotten about who could make a difference? Let us know, and keep an eye out for the next in the series as we discuss who could possibly replace Javi Manquillo or Emil Krafth at right back.

One thought on “Realistic January Signings – Part One: Goalkeepers

  1. Simple one for me this – Dean Henderson. Has experience in the league already & think he’d be a fantastic signing for us – similar to Ramsey for Arsenal I reckon.

    Triple Man Utd signings – Hendo, Jesse Lingard & Anthony Martial.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green