Rafa Benitez wants to bring Tom Heaton to Newcastle according to an ‘exclusive’ this morning.
Turning 31 last month (April), the Burnley keeper is reported to be valued at around £15m and has three years remaining on his contract.
Tom Heaton represents a great story of a player finding success later in his career.
A succession of loans and free transfers saw the keeper turn out in the lower divisions for the likes of Cardiff, Rochdale, Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol City, before the West Country club allowed him to move on as a free transfer in summer 2013.
Joining Burnley, he has been almost a constant feature in the team ever since, helping them get promotion to the Premier League in his first season, then staying with them as they then were relegated and promoted in the next two campaigns.
In their ‘exclusive’ The Sun claim that Crystal Palace are also interested in taking Tom Heaton as their number one for next season.
At 31 he isn’t old for his position and should be at his peak now, plus able to play for at least the next five years or more at the top level. He won’t be on massive money at Burnley and Tom Heaton could well see this as a time to make a real go of it elsewhere after four years at the Lancashire club.
Such has been his form, the Burnley keeper is now a regular in the England team and undoubtedly he is a very good goalkeeper, playing a key part in their promotions and this season’s success in retaining their Premier League status.
As Shay Given proved year after year at St James Park, a top class goalkeeper can make a massive difference to your fortunes and is arguably, almost as valuable as having a top striker at the other end of the pitch.
Tom Heaton could potentially provide that but the whole goalkeeping situation will depend on how Rafa Benitez sees his current options.
Do any of Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot, Matz Sels, or Tim Krul fit that bill of being a top class goalkeeper?
There is ability there but personally, I don’t think any of them would come anywhere near being rated as one of the top ten in the Premier League, which is surely the level of player we need to aim for this summer.
At least one or two of the current quartet will surely leave anyway this summer and depending on how much of a priority he sees it, we could see a new number one at St James Park.
However, with added strength needed all around the squad, Rafa will be prioritising his targets.