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West Ham United and Newcastle United are considering a swap deal involving goalkeepers Adrian and Karl Darlow, according to reports from the Express.
The Hammers are set to revamp their goalkeeping department completely ahead of next season. They brought in Joe Hart on loan from Manchester City earlier this month, in the aftermath of which, the East London club sold last summer’s No.1 shot-stopper Darren Randolph to Championship side Middlesbrough.
That leaves Adrian as the No.2 choice, but the Spaniard isn’t willing to play second fiddle to Hart throughout the season, especially with his spot for the Spain squad for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia at stake.
Newcastle United, on the other hand, are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper as manager Rafael Benitez isn’t totally convinced by last season’s first-choice stopper Karl Darlow and doesn’t see him as a viable option in the Premier League. Rafa is seeking a more experienced player between the sticks as they embark on their return to the top-flight. This situation opens up the doors for a possible swap between the two clubs.
Adrian has been in the Premier League for four seasons now, having joined the Hammers from La Liga outfit Real Betis and has proven himself in England consistently. The 30-year old Spaniard has played 123 games for the East Londoners since his move and has kept 33 clean sheets in the process. Last season may have been an indifferent one for him, as he lost his place in the starting XI to Darren Randolph. He made only 25 appearances across all competitions for the club, managing to keep six shutouts.
Despite an underwhelming campaign, Adrian remains a great option to have in between the sticks. He is experienced, has proven himself in the Premier League and barring last season, has had strong, solid campaigns in his four years in East London, making him an ideal fit for what Benitez wants at Newcastle.
On the other hand, despite Benitez’s reservations about Darlow, the 26-year old has proven to be a more than a decent option in goal. The 26-year old had a solid season in the Championship last time around, finishing with 15 clean sheets from 36 appearances across all competitions. The Englishman remains unproven in the Premier League, but did showcase his abilities at the back end of the 2015-16 season, when Newcastle got relegated.
Following his performances in the second division, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic should definitely consider moving for Darlow. The 26-year old will not displace Hart immediately, but will no doubt push him for a spot in the line-up and he is also more likely than Adrian to accept being the second-choice. Also, considering his age and his talent, he can grow into the role of a number in the future.
A swap deal makes sense for all the parties involved – giving Benitez a proven option in Adrian and providing Adrian regular football as well and Bilic will get a solid no.2 in Darlow, who is not needed at Newcastle anyway. Both the clubs should look to get it completed at the earliest.