It is 20 years ago since Newcastle paid Blackburn £1.5m for Shay Given, surely one of the club’s best ever signings.
Easily Newcastle’s best goalkeeper in living memory, Given gave 10 years to the club until even he could stand no more of the circus that had developed under Mike Ashley.
With Joe Kinnear appointed as Manager and Dennis Wise in charge of recruitment as the club fell apart, little wonder that even Shay Given couldn’t take any more and joined Manchester City in January 2009.
Looking ahead to the new season, Given has been considering what could/should happen at his old club.
The former Newcastle goalkeeper thinks it will be ‘an interesting summer’ at St James Park, though you could say that any year….
There is no doubt that Shay Given is still a big supporter of the Magpies and is hoping that the reports are true – that Rafa Benitez will indeed be properly supported in the transfer market this summer.
Responding to the numerous reports linking Newcastle with Pepe Reina, Given says that it is understandable when Rafa Benitez took the Spanish keeper to both Liverpool and Napoli.
However, he claims Newcastle have already got ‘four or five goalkeepers who can play in the Premier League’.
As well as 20 year old Freddie Woodman who is a massive hope for the future, United do have Karl Darlow, Matz Sels, Rob Elliot, and Tim Krul, all needing to have their futures sorted one way or another this summer.
Up to a point, you could make a case for each of the four probably/possibly being good enough to play in the Premier League but having somebody who could excel in the top tier is arguably a different proposition.
Karl Darlow turns 27 in October and has only started nine Premier League matches in his career, Rob Elliot is 31 and only made 35 starting elevens in the top tier, whilst of course Matz Sels has only played Championship football so far.
As for Tim Krul, he turns 30 during next season and has had a largely disappointing loan spell at AZ Alkmaar. He was excellent in the 2011/12 season when United finished fifth but has rarely matched that level since, like so many of the Newcastle players who appeared to peak that season.
Pepe Reina has been there, seen, it done it, already in the Premier League and after attempting to bring in a new number one last summer (Sels), the smart money must be on Rafa Benitez looking to do the same in this upcoming transfer window, whether it is Pepe Reina or not remains to be seen.
Shay Given speaking to Talksport:
“Pepe Reina has got a relationship with Rafa Benitez, so you can see the link there.
“But Newcastle have got four or five goalkeepers who can play in the Premier League.
“There is talk of them (Newcastle) having X amount of pounds to spend in the summer and a lot of players coming in.
“Mangala has been linked with a move to Newcastle and I think it will be an interesting summer up there.
“It will be interesting to see if Mike Ashley backs Rafa Benitez and they go heavy in the transfer market because they need to strengthen and to stay in the Premier League.
“It will be interesting to see if anything happens and it will be interesting to see what happens at Newcastle, personally. They are my old club and I spent a lot of time there.”