Newcastle United supporters have been in fine voice in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their side take a big step towards Premier League safety courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their meeting with the Terriers having picked up nine points from their previous six league games, a run which propelled them up to 14th in the division prior to kick-off on Saturday. And the Magpies are now sitting pretty in 12th place in the table as an Ayoze Perez strike ten minutes from time was enough to clinch all three points for the North East giants, in turn moving them a healthy seven points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone with just seven matches remaining.
As such, there have been many buoyant Newcastle fans in the Tavern this week, several of whom are growing increasingly confident that their side will indeed beat the drop this season, although they still probably need another win or two to be sure of Premier League football next term.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to get their teeth into, not least recent reports suggesting that Udinese are keeping tabs on goalkeeper Martin Dubravka ahead of a possible summer move.
And while Newcastle reportedly have the ‘first option’ on the 29-year-old, a deal could fail to materialise, and as such the Magpies must be prepared with an alternative in case of such eventuality.
And that alternative should be Stoke City’s £16.2 million-rated ace Jack Butland (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, Dubravka has made a big impact since making the move to St James’ Park back in January having shipped just four goals in five Premier League starts, keeping three clean sheets along the way to help Benitez’s side to ten points from those games.
Clearly, it was an area on the field that needed reinforcing such were the unconvincing efforts of Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow in the first half of the season, with Dubravka’s displays so impressive that talk of a permanent move took place almost immediately among our resident Newcastle fans.
So while it would be great news for the Magpies to land Dubravka this summer on a permanent deal, they have to be prepared in case that doesn’t happen, and Stoke shot-stopper Butland should also be on their short-list, especially if the Potters go down this term.
Ultimately, the 25-year-old has been a rare shining light in a poor campaign for the Staffordshire-based club this season, to the point that he is firmly in contention to be England’s number one goalkeeper for this summer’s World Cup.
Although the statistics don’t make particularly great reading, given that Stoke have the worst defensive record in the division, that cannot all be pinned down to Butland’s efforts, with it arguable that those figures would be a lot worse were it not for the Englishman.
Impressive displays against Arsenal, Manchester United, Huddersfield Town, and more recently against Southampton has underlined the goalkeeper’s adeptness at Premier League level, and given he is only 25, he has improvements to make and a lot more to give in the coming years – ultimately, he could go on to be an outstanding goalkeeper.
And he’s unlikely to want to be playing in the Championship next season if Paul Lambert’s men do indeed go down, with his efforts this term likely to attract much interest were the Potters to indeed lose their top-flight status.
And with Udinese showing an interest in Dubravka, Newcastle must seek to land the 25-year-old in case a deal for the Slovakia international fails to materialise this summer.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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