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Everton and Crystal Palace are set to go head to head in the battle to sign Newcastle United’s young goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, according to reports from the Chronicle.
The England youth international is 20 years of age and isn’t quite near the Newcastle first-team yet, despite demonstrating immense potential so far in his youth career. As a result, he is keen on leaving the St. James’ Park, on loan, in order to gain experience at the top level. But both Everton and Palace are keen on snapping up the youngster on a permanent deal.
The report also claims that Woodman has been scouted by the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham in recent years, indicating the talent that he is. With the two clubs coming calling, Newcastle will have a tough task of holding on to another of their prized young assets. The club lost promising defender Lewis Gibson to Everton earlier this summer and a repeat of such a situation is very much likely to happen.
With both Everton and Palace circling for the keeper, where should Woodman move, if an opportunity presents itself?
Everton have recently broken the bank to sign Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and have installed him as their No.1 choice, ahead of two experienced pros in the form of Maarten Stekelenburg and long-serving goalie Joel Robles.
While it might be likely that Everton manager Ronald Koeman could sanction the sale of either the Dutchman or the Spaniard in the summer, if Woodman joins the Toffees, he will still be a third-choice keeper, playing in the Premier League 2 with the Everton U-23 side.
On the other hand, Crystal Palace are looking to add a new shot-stopper to their ranks in order to act as a backup for their first-choice between the sticks, Wayne Hennessey. The Eagles lost French stopper Steve Mandanda in the summer, as the veteran forced a move back to former club Marseille, after failing to establish himself at the Selhurst Park. New manager Frank de Boer does have club legend Julian Speroni to call upon, but the Argentine has hardly played in the last two years and is likely to be used as the No.3 choice.
This presents a great opportunity for Woodman as he has a great chance of cementing himself as the backup for Hennessey if he joins Palace. At Palace, he will have a manager in De Boer, who is unafraid to back young talent as has done in the past with his former club AFC Ajax. And with lesser competition, there is a very good chance that he can be the second choice behind Hennessey, and he will get a run out in the cup competitions too.
The 20-year old has shown he has the ability to step up when needed, having been part of the England U-20 side that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup earlier this summer in South Korea. Woodman also won the Golden Glove award for the tournament, indicating that he can cut it out on the big stages. He might not be ready for Premier League action week in week out, but at Palace, he will be much closer to the first-team, than he would be at Everton or Newcastle United. So, if he decides to leave in the summer, Palace is the right destination for the young goalkeeper.