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Newcastle United went into the January transfer window with very little hopes as their takeover battle kept taking new turns with Mike Ashley and potential buyer Amanda Staveley wresting for control, only for the negotiations to eventually fail.
It was a known fact that Newcastle would have to work with whatever minimal funds they have and the timing was terrible since they needed to strengthen several key areas in their team. However, they managed to bring Martin Dubravka to St. James’ Park and his addition has proven to be quite fruitful.
When Manchester United paid a visit to Newcastle, it was expected that the game could go either way. However, Dubravka managed to maintain a clean sheet and it was not just because of the fact that the defenders did a good job. He was tested time and again and every single time, the 29-year-old ensured he put United’s efforts away. In fact, he seemed so comfortable in a Newcastle jersey that it almost did not seem like his debut.
To make one’s debut as a goalkeeper in a match where the stakes are so high can prove to be a daunting task for just about anyone. However, Dubravka took it in his stride and put in a spectacular display to ensure the Magpies came out on top. To be fair, their opponents did not pose much of a threat but every time Alexis Sanchez or Anthony Martial came close to scoring a goal, Dubravka was at the right place at the right time to deny their efforts.
He restricted Alexis Sanchez’s deflected shot to prevent trouble and also made an incredible stop to deny Anthony Martial. He even blocked a stray Michael Carrick flick in the dying minutes of the game. All in all, Dubravka stood tall and did not provide any scope for error as he effortlessly put in a fantastic debut. Given the way he played last night, Dubravka might easily go on to become the best bargain buy of the January window.
Benitez was targeting Willy Caballero last summer but the deal did not work out. They were in dire need of a goalkeeper since Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow were simply not consistent or good enough to be their first-choice keeper. Hence, Dubravka has come in at the right time and the fact that he has already helped them seal 3 points against Manchester United will place him in good stead with the fans as well.