A former Manchester United goalkeeper has revealed that Newcastle United approached him for a loan deal in January, before eventually moving for Martin Dubravka instead.
Tomasz Kuszczak had been Birmingham’s number one for the past couple of years but after being dropped towards the end of November 2017, he didn’t start another Championship game all season.
After being left out, the then 35 year old said that shortly afterwards (January 2018) he was approached by Newcastle United with the offer of a loan deal until the end of the season.
However, facing a season-long fight against relegation, Birmingham City turned down Newcastle’s offer.
After Newcastle failed with their bid, Kuszczak says Derby County also tried their luck, but got the same response.
Rafa Benitez had made clear last summer (2017) that he wanted to bring in an experienced goalkeeper to be his new number one but was blocked by Mike Ashley, as he tried to bring in free agent Willy Caballero after his release from Manchester City, the keeper instead joining Chelsea as back-up.
The first half of last season saw Elliot and Darlow given their chance but each were dropped and the rival brought back in after failing to convince, leaving Rafa intent on bringing in that experienced keeper finally in January.
Tomasz Kuszczak certainly fits the bill in terms of experience, having spent five years at Manchester United as their number two after signing for £4m from Premier League West Brom in 2007. Afterwards playing Championship football for Watford, Brighton, Wolves and Birmingham.
With the unexpected instant success of Martin Dubravka, easy to forget that Newcastle fans were bewildered when Rafa Benitez was said to be after him.
Slovan Liberec had allowed him to leave on a free transfer in summer 2017 and he moved to Sparta Prague as their number two, only getting his chance after first choice Tomas Koubek moved to French club Rennes.
A bit of a sliding doors moment possibly.
If Birmingham had said yes to Newcastle, then maybe we would all be raving about Tomasz Kuszczak, or things would have turned out very differently than they did from the point Duvbravka made his Newcastle debut against Manchester United.
Sometimes life/football is all about getting the opportunity and plucked from relative obscurity, Martin Dubravka has certainly grabbed his chance with both hands.
Tomas Kuszczak interviewed by Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy:
“In the winter transfer window I had a loan offer Newcastle…
“Then Derby also approached me.
“However, Birmingham said that I had to stay.
“My contract still has a year remaining now but the situation has changed – because after the season ended I have received a green light to be transferred.
“I am waiting for a signal from the people who represent me.
“Managers already know that a transfer option has appeared.
“I am calm and if there are no good offers I will wait for a year, then I will be a free agent.”