Newcastle United have been scouting Gavin Bazunu.
When fans are waiting to see whether the club will finally break the 13 year transfer record, especially for a new striker, a 16 year old goalkeeper maybe isn’t what most of us had in mind.
However, Rafa Benitez had a massive clearout of younger players this summer and is looking to seriously upgrade the youth set-up.
The widespread media reports in the past 24 hours claim that Gavin Bazunu could be a very credible start to that initiative.
The young goalkeeper has already started to build a reputation, when getting his chance this summer (the Irish league is played over the course of the summer) he has kept clean sheets in his first four games.
Thursday saw him finally beaten, Shamrock Rovers losing to a 74th minute goal in the first leg of a Europa League qualifier against Swedish side AIK.
Gavin Bazunu finally beaten after seven hours and 14 minutes of first team football.
Newcastle United have been watching his progress but so have many others, the 16 year old has already spent some time at both Brighton and Celtic so they could see him at close quarters, whilst Liverpool are also said to be one of the many clubs interested.
As it happens, goalkeeping is one of the least of Rafa’s worries higher up the food chain, with Martin Dubravka impressing everybody with his form since starting against Manchester United.
With Karl Darlow as back-up and Freddie Woodman a very exciting prospect, Newcastle are well served. However, with Shay Given as Newcastle’s best ever goalkeeper, if his countryman Gavin Bazunu has any kind of similar potential, it would be a boost if Rafa landed the 16 year old.
It is hard to see past the challenges of strengthening the first team squad at the moment but no reason why at the same time there shouldn’t be a drive to recruit potential stars of the future. This has been a major contributory factor year after year to Newcastle’s struggles, the lack of ambition in trying to recruit and develop young talent.
Bazunu’s form is especially impressive when you consider Shamrock Rovers are 24 points off the top of the table in fourth place, so not like he is playing for the dominant team.
Newcastle’s next chance to watch the young keeper would be this coming Thursday when Rovers play the second leg of their Europa League tie in Sweden.
Shamrock Rovers Manager, Stephen Bradley:
“Obviously there is going to be a lot of talk (about Gavin Bazunu).
“Everyone is looking at him, and rightly so, he is special.
“He is 16 years of age and still nowhere near his maturity physically, you can see that.
“When all that comes, and he puts the size and the strength on, it’s going to be scary what he can do.”