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Liverpool gloveman Simon Mignolet has reportedly been linked with a number of clubs following repeated dismal displays in goal this season, which has seen him go down in the pecking order behind Loris Karius. The Belgian has not been preferred in the Premier League or in the Champions League. The favourites to sign him are Celtic and Napoli.
Others interested include Southampton, Stoke City and Burnley. Shockingly, Newcastle seem inquisitive too, despite knowing that he was a favourite at the Stadium of Light. Rafa Benitez has tinkered with his goalkeepers more often than not, playing Rob Elliott, Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka recently.
Simon Mignolet started his career at Sint-Truiden, where he rose through the youth setup to become a specialist, at the age of 18. He helped them to a promotion and the following year, he ensured a stay in the top division. The same season, he won the Belgian goalkeeper of the year accolade.
He was then signed by Sunderland, for whom he played 101 matches before being snapped up by the Reds. He has featured 195 times for them and was one of the best keepers in the league in 2013-14 when Luis Suarez and co. almost won the title. In total, he has managed 80 clean sheets in the league.
Mignolet has fine reflexes and on his day, can come up with saves from the top drawer. Before the start of this season, he had a distribution accuracy of 65%, which isn’t as horrendous as critics say. Although his decision making needs to improve with respect to his sweeping attempts, he is more than handy to have in goal.
Worth The Buy?
Yes. Mignolet is experienced and can bring in a bit more authority in goal. He can form a redoubtable back line, set up fine defences and offer better quality between the sticks for the Magpies, who have struggled with their goalkeeping options this season.
Football can be cruel at times, as management and fans often tend to overlook and discount what they have seen long ago. The same thought traverses when one speaks about Mignolet, who was the Black Cats’ player of the year in 2013.
On a personal note, the shot-stopper deserves a fresh start elsewhere, where he can express himself again. He is 30 and has a good 4-5 years ahead of himself, which only implies he needs another chance. St. James’ Park would be a decent platform for him to translate saves into match-winning performances, something that will surely keep his critics quiet.