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Earlier this week, reports emerged in the Daily Chronicle that newly promoted Newcastle United are planning a shock swoop for derby rivals Sunderland’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the summer transfer window.
The 23-year old shot-stopper has been the only bright spot for the Black Cats this season, who were relegated to the EFL Championship after their 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth over the weekend. Pickford has played 25 times in the Premier League this season and has kept only three clean sheets. However, that has much to do with a leaky and unstable defence that was in front of him.
Pickford has made a total of 92 saves so far in the league – third best tally in the division behind only Artur Boruc of Bournemouth (93 from 33 games) and Lukasz Fabianski of Swansea City (93 from 34 games), despite playing fewer games compared to the top two. His reflexes and concentration are something that have been lauded by many and as a result, according to reports from The Sun, he has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, West Ham United, and Everton.
It doesn’t happen very often that a player switches from the Wearside to the Tyneside, given the huge rivalry between the two clubs. The last player to have moved from Sunderland to Newcastle was midfielder Jack Colback. And speaking in an interview last month, Pickford had stated that he will never consider such a move in his career. He said:
“Jack’s playing on the other side of the water these days unfortunately. I would never do that. I couldn’t do it myself. I would never go to Newcastle.”
Despite the player’s statements, Rafael Benitez believes he can convince the 23-year old over a summer move and is willing to offer a contract worth £75,000-per-week. But do Newcastle really need a new goalkeeper for the next season? Definitely not.
The Magpies have been using 26-year old Karl Darlow between the sticks and the Englishman has done a fine job for his team this season. In his 34 Championship appearances, Darlow has kept 13 clean sheets and has also managed two shutouts in his two EFL Cup games.
Benitez also has Matz Sels in his ranks and it was the Belgian who started the season in goal for Newcastle in the Championship after having arrived in last summer. The 25-year old did decently in his 9 appearances, keeping 4 clean sheets before being dropped from the team in favour of Darlow. Then there is the fan favourite Rob Elliot, who missed the first-half of the season due to a long-term knee injury. The 31-year old Irishman recently made a return to the first-team, featuring in the two Championship games for Newcastle against Preston and Cardiff.
Newcastle seem to have their bases well-covered in the goalkeeping department and throw in the fact that long-time club servant Tim Krul will be returning from his loan spell with AZ Alkmaar at the end of the season. The Netherlands international has been with the club for more than ten years now and possesses plenty of experience in the Premier League. In all likelihood, the 29-year old will take up the mantle of the No.1 next season when the Tyneside club returns to the top division.
With so many options at his disposal, it is quite puzzling to hear that Benitez wants to sign another goalkeeper, that too from their arch rivals. At this point of time, Newcastle do not need Pickford and they will be much better served in investing those funds in other areas instead.