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Martin Dubravka Manchester United farce can’t be allowed to happen

1 year ago

Martin Dubravka has been excellent for Newcastle United.

One of many superb Rafa Benitez signings during the Mike Ashley austerity years, the keeper arrived as a total unknown on loan in January 2018.

A total unknown despite having turned 29 just before moving to St James’ Park, due to the fact that he’d spent his entire career up to that point in low profile / quality European leagues (Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic).

With Newcastle United in a relegation struggle as Ashley had went back on promises to allow proper investment after promotion, Martin Dubravka was then very much thrown in the deep end.

Making his debut against (ironically) Manchester United, a man of the match clean sheet winning (1-0) performance and he never ever really looked back. Starting in all of the last 12 matches that season, Martin Dubravka followed up the win over Man Utd, with victories over the likes of Arsenal, Leicester, Southampton, Chelsea and Huddersfield.

Newcastle United amazingly ending up tenth at the end of that 2017/18 season, massively due to the Martin Dubravka impact.

The easiest decision in the world for then in summer 2018, Rafa Benitez actioned the £4m buying clause that was agreed in the loan arrangement with Sparta Prague.

Move forward four summers and 24 June 2022 saw Eddie Howe with a very clever piece of business, signing England goalkeeper Nick Pope for only £10m. Pope actually a year older than Dubravka was when he signed BUT with proven years of Premier League quality behind him (as is the case these days with Martin Dubravka now…).

Newcastle United now having surely the best pair of keepers they’d had for many years, certainly since Shay Given and Steve Harper.

Indeed, analysis from the Other 14 showed just how good both Nick Pope and Martin Dubravka had been last season (see tables below), despite playing for clubs that had challenging 2021/22 seasons.

A lot of debate about who would start the season in goal, in the end Nick Pope getting the nod and he has been superb, two clean sheets and then excellent against Man City, conceding three but his saves undoubtedly key to the eventual point for NUFC.

As for Martin Dubravka…expected to start in the League Cup against Tranmere, instead ‘illness’ saw him absent from the squad. Reports / rumours of Manchester United circulating and then Eddie Howe confirming that this was the case. Saying he definitely didn’t want to lose Martin Dubravka BUT it was out of his hands and if a deal could be agreed then Man Utd would be signing the 33 year old.

I don’t have a problem whatsoever with Martin Dubravka, he owes us absolutely nothing. He has been brilliant for Newcastle United these past four and a half years and has only had a couple of brief spells where his form noticeably dipped. Now he is clearly number two at Newcastle United and will turn 34 in January, if he wants to go to Man Utd then fair enough. I will be sad to see him go and gutted really that we are going from a position of real strength in the goalkeeping department, to having Karl Darlow as back up to Nick Pope, Darlow is ok but isn’t Premier League level. Put it this way, if I heard that Marti Dubravka was playing instead of Pope then I wouldn’t bat an eyelid BUT if it was Darlow coming in, I definitely would see it as weakening the side.

Where I do have a problem though with this Martin Dubravka transfer situation, is with the Manchester United approach to the deal, this farce can’t be allowed to happen.

The widespread reporting on this appears pretty clear and as I say, even Eddie Howe has confirmed that talks are happening.

Martin Dubravka clearly wants to go there BUT Man Utd have to play the game. They want a loan deal with a £5m option to buy at the end of the season.

This is a total joke.

A try before you buy on a keeper who has played the past five seasons in the Premier League, they are having a laugh.

I think Newcastle United are right to allow him to move on in acknowledgement of his service to our club BUT only if Man Utd play fair.

They need to buy Martin Dubravka or else Newcastle tell them it isn’t happening.

If Manchester United can pay over £50m for an undersize centre-back and over £60m for a 30 year old, plus wanting to spend similar on an Ajax striker, then I think surely they can’t expect to steal Martin Dubravka away on loan???

Newcastle United have shown themselves to be tough negotiators when it comes to buying players, making absolutely clear they aren’t going to be mugs who pay whatever figure a club dreams up. Likewise, I hope they do the same with players going out, who we don’t want to lose.

I actually think that Martin Dubravka is worth £10m+, certainly to ourselves (NUFC) and if Manchester United seriously do want him pushing David de Gea for a first team place, then surely the same applies here. If they don’t deem Dubravka even worthy of a definite transfer fee, why would they believe he is a goalkeeper worth going for…? They may also be intending to play the Newcastle keeper in their Europa League matches, yet think it is ok just to borrow him.

As it happens, it looks more like a £5m transfer fee is being talked about. Newcastle United insisting on guaranteed money, whilst Man Utd wanting the luxury of having the use of our number two keeper and then deciding next summer whether or not to pay the £5m and keep Martin Dubravka. They are having a laugh, most definitely.

By summer 2023, if Man Utd decided not to buy, Newcastle United would have a keeper only months away from his 35th birthday and undoubtedly one who had fallen in value.

To add to the ridiculous nature of this Manchester United approach and their negotiating position, what about the shameful way they went on with Newcastle’s desire to take Jesse Lingaard on loan only seven months ago…

These two tables from the Other 14, who specialise in stats on clubs and players who aren’t the ‘big six’ clubs and players in the Premier League, compared the performance levels of Martin Dubravka and Nick Pope in the Premier League last season.

Martin Dubravka:

Nick Pope:

Fingers crossed that Manchester United make it impossible for the Newcastle United owners to allow a deal to happen and Martin Dubravka ends up remaining at St James’ Park.


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