Newcastle United supporters have been making all the noise in the Transfer Tavern in the last few hours after seeing their side get back to winning ways in the Premier League courtesy of a surprise 1-0 success over Manchester United on Sunday.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Red Devils having failed to win any of their last four league games, and none of their preceding eight league encounters at St James’ Park. Yet the Magpies produced an inspired performance to edge past Jose Mourinho’s side, with Matt Ritchie’s strike midway through the second half enough to secure all three points for the North East giants, thus moving them up to the dizzy heights of 13th place in the Premier League table.
Subsequently, there have been many thrilled Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping that Sunday’s win can be a springboard for a run of form which moves them away from the bottom three for good.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to discuss, not least recent reports suggesting that they failed with a bid to bring Joe Hart to St James’ Park during the January window.
Yet based on his struggles on loan at West Ham this season and Torino last term, alongside the excellent debut of Martin Dubravka on Sunday, it appears that Newcastle may well have dodged a bullet missing out on the £10.8 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, 30-year-old Hart has not enjoyed a particularly great time since being told he was a surplus to requirements at Manchester City, with the England international conceding 64 goals in just 37 games for Italian outfit Torino while on loan at the Serie A club last season.
And with 30 goals shipped in 14 league appearances for West Ham this time round, things aren’t getting any better for the goalkeeper, so much so that he has been dropped in favour of Adrian by manager David Moyes for their last 13 Premier League games.
Clearly, Hart isn’t performing to the same level as the shot-stopper that helped City win the title back in 2012 and 2014, and indeed has comfortably been England’s number one for many a year. The ability is evidently there, but things just haven’t happened for him in the last few years.
And given Dubravka’s outstanding debut for the Magpies against United on Sunday, Benitez is likely to be delighted with his deadline day signing, who moved to St James’ Park on loan for the rest of the season in the last knockings of the January window.
The 29-year-old brought an element of calmness and confidence to the Magpies backline against the Red Devils, making several important saves to keep Mourinho’s side at bay, including an excellent low save in the dying minutes to clinch all three points for the North East giants.
Yes, it has only been one game and there are many more to come, but early indications suggest that Benitez has got it absolutely spot on in luring Dubravka to Newcastle, with the Slovakia international producing a level of performance we haven’t seen in a long time from Hart, certainly at club level.
As such, the Magpies may well have dodged a bullet failing to land the West Ham goalkeeper during the January window.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!