The arrival of Martin Dubravka in the January window was one of the most defining moments in Newcastle United’s 2017/18 campaign as his presence was pivotal to their survival bid.
After chopping and changing between Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot, Rafa Benitez finally resolved his goalkeeping problem by signing Dubravka in January.
Signed on an initial loan deal, the Magpies made his deal permanent in the summer following a string of fine performances between the sticks, including a heroic performance against Manchester United at St James’ Park.
Benitez has continued to trust in the Slovakian this season by starting him in all twelve of Newcastle’s opening league fixtures, and his form could ultimately force both Freddie Woodman and Rob Elliot into January transfers.
According to the Northern Echo, both of the aforementioned goalkeepers are keen to leave in January in order to acquire first-team opportunities after being frozen out by Benitez.
In truth, it is counter-productive for Benitez to keep four different goalkeepers at the club, especially a promising young talent in Woodman whose development depends on first-team opportunities.
But if Woodman does leave the club in the mid-season window, Benitez must ensure that he will be guaranteed a starting berth, as he found himself on the substitutes bench during his time at Aberdeen last season.
With Dubravka firmly established as Newcastle’s number one and showing little sign of losing his spot, January represents the perfect time for both Woodman and Elliot to take on a new challenge.
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