Why Nick Pope Would Be A Brilliant Signing For Newcastle United
With no long-term solution since Tim Krul’s peak and club legend Shay Given, could Newcastle be about to turn to the £4.5m-rated Nick Pope to solve their perennial goalkeeping problems? Reports this week certainly suggest so and there is enough evidence to suggest that it would not be a bad move at all.
Freddie Woodman is once again out on loan, this time at Aberdeen, and seems to be happy as long as he gets first-team football. However, he is not quite ready to be Newcastle’s Premier League no.1 yet. He has been earmarked not only as Newcastle’s first choice long-term ‘keeper, but also as England’s. However, this will happen in its own sweet time.
Rob Elliot is now the third choice and is undoubtedly on his way out in the summer, while Karl Darlow will surely not settle for sitting on the bench, having had a taste of first-team football now in both the Championship and the Premier League for Rafa Benitez’s men.
Martin Dubravka made an excellent debut against Manchester United but it’s too early to say how well he will do and at the end of the day, he is only at St. James’ Park on loan. There is no guarantee of a permanent move in the summer despite talks of a £3.5million agreement between Newcastle and Sparta Prague.
Pope meanwhile has been excellent in the Premier League for Burnley this season, filling in because of a long-term injury to No.1 and England World Cup hopeful Tom Heaton.
With Heaton almost ready to return though, Pope is at a level where he’d no longer be happy to play second fiddle and will quite rightly demand first-team Premier League football somewhere next term. In fact, he may even improve past Heaton.
Ordinarily, the simplistic view would be to say there’s no way Newcastle should be accepting a Burnley reject as their No.1 ‘keeper, however, this situation is far from as clear cut as that.
The pertinent questions would be a) is he better than what Newcastle currently have in that position and b) is he likely to be of the required standard next season as well. The answer to both questions is undoubtedly yes and so I for one would actively encourage Rafa Benitez to make the move.
Cambridge born Pope, now 25, clearly wants to be an England international and may well achieve it. In a perfect world, Newcastle will be vying for the top-6 next season and that is exactly where Pope needs to be.