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Opinion

Nick Pope – How much of an upgrade is this ‘under the radar steal’ on Martin Dubravka?

2 months ago
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Nick Pope is now Newcastle United’s second confirmed signing of the summer, coming in to considerably strengthen our goalkeeping options.

First of all, can we all just agree that £10 million for a capped England international is an absolute steal?

I know relegation does drop the price somewhat but even so, pulled an absolute blinder on that deal!

Obviously, Nick Pope has come in expecting to compete for the number one spot in between the sticks, especially with a World Cup on the horizon.

I’ve looked at the stats (via Transfermarkt) comparing him to Martin Dubravka and here are three areas where Nick Pope can do better.

Injury record

This is one obvious plus, as Nick Pope has missed only eight Premier League matchday squads these past four seasons at Burnley.

With his lowest PL appearance tally in that time being 32 starts in the 20/21 season.

Compare that with Dubravka, who over the past two seasons has managed just 39 Premier League appearances.

Obviously he is quality when he’s fit, but with these injuries seeming to catch up with him, Nick Pope seems to be a guaranteed starter in terms of fitness week in, week out.

Clean sheets

The main job of a keeper is obviously to stop goals being scored and Nick Pope does that really well.

In a Burnley team facing a lot of shots, he’s kept 12, 15, 11 and 9 clean sheets over the past four seasons. Compare that with Dubravka, who has been in a similar set-up over the past few seasons, keeping 11, 11, 3 and 8 over the past four seasons.

Obviously, there is the caveat that he’s played fewer games in the past couple of seasons, but some would argue that missing much of the first half of the past couple of seasons under Steve Bruce was a blessing for him, can’t imagine he would have added many to his 11 clean sheets the last two years. Pretty solid stats from both, but again, Pope is still edging out Dubravka.

Saves

Again, part and parcel of the job, but it’s another part of the job that Nick Pope again excels at.

With 121 saves last season, only bettered by three other Premier League keepers, with Dubravka making 73, Dubravka had fewer appearances 26 compared to 36 for Pope).

Going back to the 2019/20 season when both keepers played every minute of their Premier League seasons, Pope was only 20 behind Dubravka (140 to 120.) Showing Pope’s excellent dependability and reliability, which again shows what a steal we’ve made here.

You also have to look at the fact that despite eighteenth place and relegation last season for Burnley, Nick Pope helped them have the tenth best defensive record in the Premier League, with 53 goals conceded.

In contrast, Man Utd finished sixth and conceded 57, whilst in the bottom six you had Southampton (67), Everton (66), Leeds (79), Watford (77) and Norwich (84).

All in all, an absolutely fantastic signing, and another under the radar steal for the new-look management team. Can’t wait to see who we get / get rid of next!

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