Why Middlesbrough Should Sign Karl Darlow This Summer
Despite being no.1 for the vast majority of last season and becoming a firm fan favourite, Karl Darlow could yet be put up for sale by Newcastle United.
Rafa Benitez has been publicly grateful for his service last season, but equally, he has always shown that he does not rate him as Newcastle’s long-term no.1. Matz Sels was bought last summer and started the season as first choice, and when Rob Elliot was fit for the last couple of games of last term, he too quickly usurped the former Nottingham Forest ‘keeper.
Newcastle have plenty of quantity in this position, leading Rafa to believe that none of them stand out as a Premier League stopper. Darlow and Elliot have little to separate them. Freddie Woodman is improving, but still lacks experience, while Tim Krul can come back from the Netherlands and challenge for a spot.
Matz Sels has already left the club on loan and Benitez is looking to bring in some experience as no.1, with the likes of Pepe Reina and Joe Hart seriously considered by the club. With that in mind, it’s easy to see Darlow being allowed to leave and given the competition, he is far from a guaranteed Premier League job.
He’d want a top Championship club if he is to drop down a level though and Boro fit the bill there. Garry Monk has them as one of the favourites to go up and they are definitely in there with a fighting chance.
With Victor Valdes having departed the club now, Boro are left with Mejias, Ripley, and Konstantopoulos as ‘keepers, and none of those look solid enough to be the last line of defence in a title chasing season. Darlow has proved though that he can be and at 26 is nowhere near his peak as a goalkeeper and he can only get better.
Boro have already had a £5million bid for Darlow rejected by Newcastle but that is just a case of bad timing. Rafa has not yet found his new no.1 and as such is merely being professional and is cautious in not letting another ‘keeper leave.
As soon as Hart, Reina or whoever else ends up signing on at SJP, Boro may find that a second bid could well be successful.
So, with all of this taken into consideration, the question of whether Boro should go in for Karl Darlow is a simple one to answer. Yes.