Fighting for Premier League survival following their promotion from the Championship, Newcastle United were forced into doing business in the last winter transfer window.
And the goalkeeper position stood out as one area in particular that needed strengthening, which prompted manager Rafael Benitez into moving for Martin Dubravka, much to the delight of supporters, surprisingly.
He was outstanding against Scotland in WC qualifiers. Hopefully more of the same between now and end of season
— mark walker (@walkman1987) January 31, 2018
— Shevas (@ShevasNUFC) February 1, 2018
— miro pessl (@MiroPessl) February 1, 2018
Well happy with this. A great addition to the starting 11.
— Craig (@GiarcNE40) February 1, 2018
start him asap! darlow is dreadful
— Keegan Ruddock (@keegan_ruddock) January 31, 2018
— Lee Pattinson (@LeePattinson6) January 31, 2018
— Ben Mancebo-Thomas (@BenMancebo) January 31, 2018
Arriving at St. James’ Park from Sparta Prague on an initial loan deal until the end of the 2017/18 season, Dubravka came across as another low-budget Mike Ashley signing.
However, Newcastle fans recognised the need for a new No.1, explaining the above reactions. And, in the end, £4.5m-rated (Transfermarkt) Dubravka proved to be anything but an underwhelming, cheap addition, going from strength to strength since joining the Magpies.
The 29-year-old was in fantastic form as he helped inspire Newcastle to a 10th place Premier League finish after a host of solid displays, which he has carried into the current campaign.
Dubravka’s shot-stopping has been amazing while his reflexes have also been on point, possibly making him the leading goalkeeper outside of the Premier League top six.
The Slovakia international is now on Newcastle’s books permanently with the club rightly deciding to buy him from Sparta Prague due to the instant impact he has made at St. James’ Park.
A year on from his arrival, Dubravka and Newcastle find themselves in the relegation zone on 18 points. With that in mind, Benitez and supporters could desperately do with another signing of Dubravka’s quality coming in this month.
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