If there was one position you thought Newcastle United were in, ahem, good hands in, it would be between the sticks.
Martin Dubraka has been excellent since joining the club, while he’s capably backed up by Karl Darlow, Freddie Woodman and Rob Elliot.
That hasn’t stopped the club going after another top class ‘keeper this summer, apparently. Italian outlet Tutto Mercato Web reported on Saturday that the Magpies have a concrete interest in Lazio star Thomas Strakosha and have an offer ready for him.
Any potential move for the Albanian, who Newcastle are seemingly very keen on, would likely spell disaster for the club’s current number one Dubravka.
That would be a shame, because the Slovakian, on a reported £38,000-per-week [Source: Spotrac], has done nothing to deserve being replaced.
However, Strakosha is very much in-demand for a reason. As per WhoScored, the 24-year-old averaged 2.7 shots saved per game last season, with 1.6 of them coming from within the penalty box.
That tells you that he wasn’t the busiest of goalkeepers last time out, but that when he was called into action he was solid as a rock, even from extremely close range.
As per the same website, Dubravka averaged 2.4 shots per game, with 1.4 of them coming from inside the danger zone. So their numbers are pretty comparable, but Strakosha just has that edge in quality – as well as having the advantage of being six years younger than the Magpies man.
That’s a big thing for a club as committed to youth and sell on value as Newcastle. Mike Ashley loves profit, and it’s easy to see him viewing Strakosha as an easy way to earn a fat wad of cash in the future. A 30-year-old Dubravka, on the other hand, doesn’t quite tick that box.
So if the north east giants do manage to pull off this swoop for the highly-rated Serie A star, it could leave their current number one in the shade.