Newcastle United supporters have been in fine voice in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side edge past Crystal Palace 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday, in turn moving the North East giants up to seventh place in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Eagles having won three of their opening eight league games but having drawn the previous two against Liverpool and Southampton, and would have seen a home encounter against the division’s bottom side as the perfect chance to return to winning ways. And so it proved as a Matt Ritchie corner was met by an excellent header from midfielder Mikel Merino four minutes from time, thus sealing the three points for the Magpies, and condemning Roy Hodgson’s Palace to another week as the basement club in the Premier League.
And, unsurprisingly, several of our resident Newcastle supporters were thrilled with their side’s efforts and have been toasting their victory all week, and many are already looking forward to their team’s trip to Burnley next Monday.
And with things seemingly going well off the pitch as well, what with talk of a possible takeover of the club in the near future, many Magpies fans lining up at the bar are anticipating an interesting and busy January transfer window, and reports this week suggest that that could well happen.
And that’s because the North East giants are reportedly sizing up a move for Real Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in a bid to strengthen their shot-stopping ranks.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a stellar 12 months at the La Liga outfit having joined on loan from Manchester City back in August 2016, so much so that he made his move to the Spanish side permanent back in January.
The Argentine kept ten clean sheets in 38 league games last term to help the club to a sixth place finish in the Spanish top-flight, thus earning them a spot in this season’s Europa League group stages, in which they have won two of their opening three matches.
Yet Benitez and Newcastle are reportedly seeking to lure the goalkeeper away from the Anoeta Stadium in January ahead of the second half of the season, and were they to get a deal done for the 25-year-old, that would surely spell the end for Karl Darlow at the North East outfit.
The Englishman moved to Newcastle back in 2014 and played a key role in helping them win promotion from the Championship last season, but just one Carabao Cup appearance this term and none in the Premier League suggests that he is already down the pecking order at St James’ Park.
And it’s not overly surprising given how well Rob Elliot has performed between the sticks so far this term, with his three clean sheets in nine league matches underlining his high level of consistency in the Magpies goal, while several important saves at crucial times has proven that he is ready when called upon.
And while Elliot is fit and playing as he is, Darlow is going to struggle to usurp him as the club’s number one, so adding another shot-stopper in Rulli is surely going to all but end his chances of becoming Benitez’s first-choice.
Rulli is extremely highly-rated and will surely not want to move to Newcastle to sit on the bench, so it would look for all the world that Darlow would be relegated to third-choice, and struggling to even make the matchday squad every week.
What’s more, the Magpies are unlikely to let England Under-20 World Cup winner Freddie Woodman leave the club anytime soon such is his immense potential, and while they may feel a loan spell is beneficial to him, you sense it’s not going to be long before he is knocking on the door of a first team spot.
Thus, Darlow’s future would surely be away from St James’ Park if Rulli came in in January.
Not only would it signify that Benitez isn’t overly convinced by his options, but it would relegate the 27-year-old down to third-choice and struggling to even play cup games for the Magpies.
There was reported interest in him last summer such was Newcastle’s apparent desire to land a shot-stopper, and the £4.05 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) may well be hoping for more interest in January should Rulli make the move to the North East.
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