With one year left on his contract at Newcastle, the future of Tim Krul is one of the interesting decisions Rafa Benitez has to make.
It is now 20 months since the Dutch international’s last game for Newcastle, that crushing 6-1 defeat at Manchester City when Krul and his teammates conceded six goals in 20 minutes, including five from Sergio Aguero.
Injured on international duty, Tim Krul still hadn’t recovered by last summer and so was allowed to go to Ajax on loan for a season, to get him back to full fitness and then play as many games as possible.
Despite getting back to full fitness and playing a number of matches for the Ajax reserve side (who play in the second tier of Dutch football), the loan keeper bizarrely didn’t get even a place on the first team bench – never mind time on the pitch.
So in January, Ajax agreed that Tim Krul could move on to AZ Alkmaar, with Rafa Benitez reassured that he would get first team football there.
With 22 matches in just over three months, Krul certainly go the chance to put a run of matches together.
However, the loan keeper only managed four clean sheets in those 22 first team matches and conceded a hefty 43 goals conceded.
Am interesting season has passed by where keepers are concerned at Newcastle United, with Matz Sels starting the season as number one, before then Karl Darlow took over in September, then finally Rob Elliot handed a start in the final three games as promotion and then the title were secured.
On top of that, 20 year old Freddie Woodman has continued to make great progress, both with England (Under 20s and made the Under 21s squad) and on loan at Kilmarnock in the second part of the season.
Difficult to second guess Rafa Benitez’ intentions but hard to see Tim Krul starting as number one next season, even though before his injury in October 2015, the Dutch international had been undisputed first choice for over five years.
Recent days have seen Rafa/Newcastle heavily linked with bringing in a number one experienced keeper, with Pepe Reina and Willy Caballero claimed to be targets.
Bidding farewell to AZ fans, Tim Krul had the following to say in a personal message, as well as posting a video (see below) of his best bits whilst on loan at AZ.
“I would like to thank everyone at AZ for the pleasant time I had here.
“A shame we couldn’t finish the season with a nice trophy.
“But unfortunately, that is football as well.
“I’m really grateful for all the support and confidence I got from both fans and club.
“Thanks for this season.
“I wish you all the best, the coming years, and thanks for all.”
— Tim Krul (@TimKrul) June 2, 2017