After making a £5.5m move to Newcastle in early July 2016, it is difficult to see how things could have gone any worse for Matz Sels.
In 2014/15 the keeper had won the Belgian league title with Gent and the next campaign played Champions League football against the likes of Valencia, Lyon and Wolfsburg.
With Rafa Benitez bringing Matz Sels in with a guarantee of starting as first choice for a Newcastle United team who were expected to bounce straight back up – the now 25 year old keeper must have been looking forward to the prospect of playing Premier League football in August 2017.
Sels started the first nine Championship matches but rarely looked comfortable, especially when dealing with crosses into the box.
Shouldering much of the blame for a last minute equaliser conceded at Villa Park last September, Matz Sels never pulled on a first team shirt again in the Championship.
Confined to filling in for the three FA Cup matches, Sels was also a spectator as Newcastle beat Preston 6-0 in the League Cup. Arguably his worst moment came in the League Cup quarter-final at Hull, when only 60 seconds after Newcastle had taken the lead in extra time, he failed to hold a weak shot and gifted the equaliser, Hull going on to win in the penalty shoot out.
Having sat on the bench for months, the Belgian keeper was denied even that in the final stages of the season, with Rob Elliot replacing him once fully fit.
With Darlow and Elliot ahead of him, Tim Krul returning on loan from AZ Alkmaar, Freddie Woodman looking a great prospect, and Rafa Benitez heavily rumoured to be looking for a new experienced first choice keeper, fair to say the future doesn’t look too great for the former Gent keeper.
Salvation could possibly be at hand though, with Anderlecht confirming they are interested in the Newcastle keeper.
Anderlecht’s Director of Football, Herman Van Holsbeeck, telling HLN: ”
“Matz Sels is a good goalkeeper but a deal will be complicated.”
Anderlecht have just won the Belgian league and have Champions League football to look forward to, so they are looking to strengthen their squad.
In Belgium, Matz Sels’ reputation hasn’t taken that big a hit due to his Newcastle experience, so no surprise he would be seen as a credible signing.
Not hard though to see where the ‘complicated’ bit comes in, as the wages Matz Sels is on now at St James Park, will be far beyond what Anderlecht will want to match.
It was always going to be difficult to shift Sels this summer and a loan deal with Newcastle picking up some of the wage bill looks to me the best we can hope for in the short-term – as he clearly has no future at St James Park.
Despite his lack of involvement at Newcastle, Matz Sels continues to be selected by Belgium in their national squad, alongside the likes of Lukaku and Hazard.
On Monday they play at home to Czech Republic in a friendly then away at Estonia on Friday in a World Cup qualifier. Though despite sitting on the bench 11 times, Sels is still yet to play for his country at senior level.