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The curious case of Martin Dubravka and Newcastle United

4 years ago

Newcastle United are difficult enough to understand at the best of times, never mind this January transfer link with Martin Dubravka.

To say the expectations of Newcastle fans are low in this transfer window would be a serious understatement but this deal just made no sense whatsoever.

A number of days ago it was widely reported that Rafa Benitez wanted to take the Slovakian goalkeeper on loan for the rest of the season.

The story was then regularly repeated and added to, before today it was reported/revealed that Newcastle had failed in their bid to land the keeper.

The strange thing is, that at no time did I see anybody in the media question why this transfer story was being circulated, considering just how ridiculous it actually is/was.

Martin Dubravka actually turned 29 today and is currently first choice keeper at Sparta Prague, which is actually the first questionable thing. Why would Sparta Prague loan out their first choice keeper? Fair enough sell him maybe to a Premier League club and reinvest the money but what would be the point in loaning him out?

Most of the questions for me though, are from the Newcastle side of things, as in why would anybody think he was good enough for the Premier League?

He played in the very weak Slovakian domestic league for Zilina, before joining Danish minnows Esbjerg at the age of 25 in 2014.

Martin Dubravka finished second bottom of the Danish top tier with Esbjerg in his last season with them in 2015/16, before then being allowed to leave for nothing and join Slovan Liberec in the Czech league.

Last summer he moved on once again on a free transfer to Sparta Prague, signing as their number two keeper.

However, after playing the first four league games of the season, first choice Tomas Koubek moved on to French club Rennes for two and a half million, leaving the number one jersey free for Martin Dubravka.

Sparta Prague are currently a poor fifth in a very poor Czech league (ranked 14th strongest at the minute in Europe, alongside likes of Greece, Poland and Israel).

What use to Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United would a journeyman goalkeeper such as Dubravka be? Elliot and Darlow aren’t the greatest but for somebody who is now 29 and has no experience of club football at all at a remotely decent level, does anybody seriously think he could have played in the Premier League this season?

The point of this article isn’t a character assassination of Martin Dubravka, it is more about the laziness of all the sports media in the UK who repeat these transfer stories that make zero sense. Never mind whether they are true!

Even the loan aspect of the story is just stupid, to buy him would surely cost no more than a million, probably far less, so even under Mike Ashley’s stewardship that would be peanuts. So why a loan?

We are now 15 days into the January transfer window and this is what we are reduced to!

Discussing invented transfer stories about Newcastle linked players who would struggle to get a game in League Two.

You couldn’t make it up…


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