Rafa Benitez confused Newcastle fans a year ago, when he made a new goalkeeper his first priority.

Matz Sels recruited from Belgium and assured of starting the season as number one.

With Karl Darlow performing well once replacing the disappointing Sels, then Rob Elliot back to fitness and playing the last three Championship matches, plus potentially Tim Krul once again competing after a year on loan to get fitness and form, a goalkeeper surely wasn’t foremost in Rafa’s mind this summer?

However, once the transfer speculation season really got going, Newcastle were instantly linked with a series of experienced keepers to come in as the new number one.

Pepe Reina heavily linked, then Rafa Benitez said to be desperately disappointed when Newcastle failed to land Will Caballero after his release from Manchester City – a number of other goalkeepers then also linked.

Newcastle supporters had waited all summer for the United boss to give some insight on his thoughts regarding the transfer market and he couldn’t really have been more open once he opened up in recent days.

Happy to go all out and remind Mike Ashley that he had better keep the promises made on transfer budget and freedom for Rafa to spend it as he sees fit, the manager has also simply spelt out what is happening with the goalkeeping situation.

He wants Rob Elliot to stay and a new goalkeeper to come in (and surely be number one with Elliot as back up), although Rafa has to phrase it as the two goalkeepers fighting it out for the number one shirt.

It had already been made clear that Karl Darlow was up for sale, with Middlesbrough just one of the clubs keen on signing him, whilst Tim Krul left at home with Emmanuel Riviere instead of going on the pre-season training camp, couldn’t be any more of a stark message as to the Dutchman’s place (or not!) in the scheme of things.

The reality is that Karl Darlow isn’t a Premier League keeper, as just like Vurnon Anita, the pair of them are only of interest to second tier clubs. Meanwhile, Tim Krul had an outstanding 2011/12 season (like so many other Newcastle players) but in the next five years he has never shown anything like the same standard, apart from odd games.

As for Rob Elliot he has reached the age of 31 and has made only 35 Premier League starts (in only five of those 35 matches has he kept a clean sheet), most of them coming in the 2015/16 relegation season. He may be an ok number two but it is obvious, certainly to Rafa Benitez, that the club is desperately in need of a better quality goalkeeper than Newcastle currently have. With the possible exception of 20 year old Freddie Woodman, though it will take a little more time and experience before he can potentially compete.

Rafa Benitez:

“Hopefully we can bring in a new goalkeeper and this competition will be good for the team.

“The main thing for Rob Elliot is to be fit, he is training hard after playing the final three games of last season.

“He is a good goalkeeper but I want him to compete.

“You can’t have players that think this is easy because they are the only one in that position.”

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • magpiefifer

    I’m not convinced that we need another ‘keeper – and there are other positions with much higher needs!
    I’d be happy with Elliot and Darlow,with Woodman as back-up.Look what has happened with Fraser Forster since we (Pardew!!) sold him for £2m!?
    Certainly, the likes of Randolph is not a forward step, so let’s concentrate on bringing in PL quality players in midfiels and attack.

    • Although I trust Rafa’s judgement on outfield. Bringing in Sels was hardly inspirational. Maybe he feels a more commanding keeper is necessary. But land anyone?

  • Rich Lawson

    I presume we are now talking about Randolph at West Ham ? He doesn’t inspire me in the least and would probably be better to stay where he is for when Hart implodes in the first few games ? Proper goalkeeper or stay with Elliot and promote Woodman as his deputy ?

    • Si

      No to Randolph but can see the sense in an experienced keeper as back-up and as a mentor to Woodman.

      • Rich Lawson

        I’m saying no to Randoph too,who do you suggest that we bring in who is currently a better option to Elliot as first choice ?

  • Paul Patterson

    Providing it doesn’t hamper further recruitment then great. Shame for Darlow though, I’d like to keep him as a no2.

  • LeroyGibbs

    If that’s what Rafa wants, then that’s fine by me!

  • Desree

    We have a rubbish defence and definitely need a strong keeper at the back who can command his box. Especially if Lascelles continues to play. Against championship attackers we were woeful at times. What will we be like against PL teams, especially when we will have less of the ball.

  • Mrkgw

    I’d let Darlow go and reinstall Krul as number one. Elliott as his back up and Woodman as third choice. Wouldn’t cost Rafa a bean meaning that he could invest his mythical budget elsewhere.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I think Krul’s distribution is seen as a major liability for Rafa

      • mentalman

        Elliotts overall play should be seen as a liability

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I don’t think that’s true, he has better concentration and relatively good passing.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I hope it`s better than the last one he bought

    • Jimblag23

      Amen to that.

  • mentalman

    Im not getting this at all, why is the back up keeper at west ham being seen as the experienced keeper we apparently need when we already have a keeper who is younger better and played nearly 5 times more games in the pl

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I agree, I could understand him getting Reina in as a trusted pair of gloves but not an understudy from elsewhere. I bet wham would take Krul

  • Jimblag23

    If this is really Rafas plan then one of Krul and Darlow need to only go out on loan, with the ability to recall at any time. We’d be screwed if the new keeper got injured as Elliot has a habit of getting injured.

  • 1957

    Let’s hope if Benitez does get another keeper he makes a better job than he did picking Sels last season, maybe Sels is a better keeper than he showed, but he looked like a rabbit in headlights at times.

    Goalkeepers seem to often be a issue for managers and they can lose the plot. Keegan never seemed comfortable with Pav and he bought Mike Hooper and Shaka Hislop; Kenny chose to inflict Lionel Perez (thankfully he didn’t get a game) on us and Gullit of course had his moment madness with John Karelse then replaced him after 2 games with Tommy Wright.

    • HarryHype59

      We criticise Carr for some bad signings, but Sels was an absolute disaster. He will be sold for a fraction of the £6.5m we paid for him.

  • HarryHype59

    I would keep our existing goalies and put the money towards bringing in the essential 15 goal a season player this club desperately needs.

    • Clarko

      You would keep four goalkeepers (Krul, Darlow, Elliot and Woodman), how does that make sense? Would it not make more sense to sell one/two of those goalkeepers and put that money towards a new player?

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Woodman will have to go on loan for a season but ideally at Championship level or perhaps Scottish Premier, Rangers may be about to sell their keeper to Forest.

        That still leaves 3 into 1 so one has to go for the sake of their career.
        I think he’ll sell Darlow and Krul, keep Elliot and bring in another but I think that keeping Krul and Elliot should do us.

        • Clarko


        • HarryHype59

          The priority has to be signing a striker who can score at least 12-15 goals a season at this level. Clarko ( Captain catch up) actually believed there was 70m to 100m available as he must be the only bloke on Tyneside who believes what Mike Ashley says.

          Money is obviously tight so the limited funds have to go on a striker. Otherwise we are this seasons Boro.

          • HarryHype59

            I totally ignore the rants of the deluded Clarko, as it would be cruel winding up a person with very limited understanding of football and financial matters, who also has has….other issues.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I don’t think MA said there was 70-100m at all

          • HarryHype59

            It was widely reported in the media and that was the expectation. This window has been a massive disappointment for the happy clappers.

  • Essex_Toon

    If Rafa is hell-bent on bringing in another keeper then I think Adrian at West Ham is a good shout. He’s very consistent and is a great shot stopper. The fact that he’s Spanish should help him with Rafa.