Rafa Benitez interested in Nick Pope in Summer transfer window – Report
Newcastle United are set to make a move for Nick Pope in the Summer according to media reports on Sunday morning.
The 25 year old had never previously played in the Premier League until first choice keeper Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder earlier this season.
As so often happens with goalkeepers, it is all about getting opportunities as if you have a clear first choice keeper like Heaton has been for Burnley then no chance of getting games.
However, Nick Pope has grabbed the chance with both hands and has been a key reason for Burnley currently being in seventh place in the league.
Remarkably, only Swansea have scored less than Burnley’s 21 goals and it has been a strong defence that has carried them so high.
Since getting his chance, in 23 PL starts Nick Pope has only conceded 20 goals, has kept nine clean sheets, and only four times conceded more than one goal.
Two of his games have been the clean sheet at home to Newcastle in a 1-0 win and the 1-1 at St James Park, saving Joselu’s penalty but nothing he could do about that towering Jamaal Lascelles header.
As with all transfer rumours, particularly at this time of year (a long time before the window opens again), and the source (The Sun) of the transfer story for many, I think we can safely assume that Rafa Benitez will be signing at least one permanent keeper and perhaps two.
This season has seen Tim Krul find another club, Matz Sels go on loan for the season, and now 21 year old Freddie Woodman on loan at Aberdeen.
Rafa Benitez has made clear he doesn’t see either Karl Darlow or Rob Elliot as a first choice Premier League keeper, each of them dropped at least once already this season.
Martin Dubravka of course brought in on loan with a possible permanent deal in the offing, making his stunning debut against Man Utd only 11 days after signing.
Nick Pope has served his apprenticeship and has played now in the National League South, National League, League Two, League One, Championship and now Premier League, having signed for Burnley from Charlton in 2016.
The Sun report says that the availability/future of Nick Pope all depends on what Sean Dyche does once Tom Heaton returns to full fitness.
From the Newcastle position, my bet would be on (assuming we stay in the Premier League) this Summer, Rafa Benitez moving out Elliot, Darlow and Sels, then buying Martin Dubravka and another new keeper, with Freddie Woodman making up the three goalkeeper strength.
Alternatively, Woodman could go out on another loan and maybe keep one of the current senior trio that are on the club books.
With Dubravka set to cost no more than £4m to be made permanent, hopefully the goalkeeping position can be significantly strengthened in the summer without eating too much into Rafa’s budget, or maybe any transfer cash that is spent on one or two keepers, can be covered with the sales of those currently at the club.
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