Newcastle United supporters have been making a lot of noise in the Transfer Tavern in the past week or so after seeing their team edge Manchester United 1-0 in their previous Premier League encounter to move up to 13th in the table.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Red Devils off the back of drawing 1-1 with Crystal Palace, a result which extended their winless league run to four matches, and indeed saw them slip into the bottom three prior to kick-off last weekend. Yet the Magpies produced an inspired performance to deservedly get the better of Jose Mourinho’s side, with Matt Ritchie’s effort midway through the second half enough to clinch a vital three points for Benitez’s side, thus moving them two points clear of danger with 11 games of the season remaining.
Subsequently, there have been many delighted Newcastle fans in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom are hoping the victory over United can kickstart their ascent up the Premier League table and thus away from the relegation zone.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to discuss, not least recent reports suggesting that their club are eyeing up a move for Burnley shot-stopper Nick Pope in the summer.
And based on his fine efforts for the Clarets so far this season, landing the £4.5 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) in the summer could turn out to be one of Newcastle’s smartest pieces of business in years.
Ultimately, the 25-year-old has proven himself to be a hugely adept goalkeeper at Premier League level, helping Sean Dyche’s men to ten clean sheets and just 20 goals against in his 24 league appearances between the sticks this season.
More significantly though, the Englishman has come in for the mightily impressive Tom Heaton and hasn’t been overawed by his compatriot’s staggering season last term, to the point that Burnley simply haven’t missed the latter during his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
That is arguably the biggest compliment one can give Pope given how influential Heaton was for Dyche’s side last season, with the former producing many match-winning and point-saving displays to suggest that Heaton won’t find it easy dislodging his teammate as the Clarets’ number one when back from injury.
Significantly for Newcastle though, Pope has proven to be a better and more dependable goalkeeper than Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow, with the Burnley man very strong in the shot-stopping department yet he also has great command of his box, which itself is likely to give the backline in front of him greater confidence in his ability.
And while Martin Dubravka made a wonderful start to life in the North East with a match-winning display against United, Pope’s arrival, should the Magpies indeed land Dubravka permanently, would provide genuine competition to the Slovakia international, which can only be a good thing in enhancing performance and getting the best out of each other.
It’s evident that Benitez has wanted a goalkeeper ever since Newcastle were promoted to the Premier League last year, but it took him until last month to get the one he wanted in Dubravka.
Yet landing Pope, who has proven his worth in the top-flight this season to underline his goal-keeping credentials, can only be a good thing for the competition amongst the shot-stoppers at St James’ Park, something that arguably hasn’t been there so far this season.
Thus, sealing a deal for the Burnley man in the summer could turn out to be one of their smartest moves in many a year.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!