Rob Elliot, Karl Darlow, or a new guardian between the posts?
Unlike most teams, Newcastle United are fortunate to have some depth and competition at such an important position. With Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow fighting for the right to serve as the last line of defense for Newcastle United, Rafa Benitez is making the right decision by giving most of the playing time to Elliot.
As a defensive unit, the Magpies have conceded 27 goals in 18 matches. With Elliot in goal, Newcastle United have a record of 4-2-8, have conceded 18 goals and claimed three clean sheets against West Ham, Swansea City and Crystal Palace.
In Darlow’s four appearances this season, Newcastle United have a record of 0-1-3 and have conceded 9 goals. It is worth mentioning that both goalkeepers have combined for a total of 49 saves this season, which is 23 fewer than the league high of 72 saves.
Overall, Elliot has been the better of the two keepers and deserves to start matches for the remainder of the season. A goalkeeper must be held accountable, however, Elliot’s success between the posts is heavily dependent on the success of the defenders in front of him.
The Magpies are not in dire need of a new goalkeeper in this transfer window to save the season, but if an opportunity arises to buy a skilled goalkeeper at a good price then the club should pursue the deal.
NUFC Transfer Suggestions
Etrit Berisha – Age: 28 – Club: Atalanta – National Team: Albania
The Albanian international protects the goal for Italian side Atalanta. As a result of his good form while playing for Lazio, Berisha attracted the attention of several Serie A clubs before ultimately signing for Atalanta in 2016.
With his height of 6’4’’ (1.92m) and his diving ability, Berisha is the true definition of obstruction. During his time at Lazio and Atalanta, he earned a reputation for making difficult saves at the last moment and for saving multiple penalty shots from high profile strikers. His speed enables him to cover both posts efficiently and his positioning during set pieces is a top attribute.
In addition, Berisha has become an icon in Albania as he started every match on the country’s journey to the 2016 Euro Cup tournament in France. Berisha is an underrated goalkeeper with impressive statistics. He would bring with him useful experience from playing in Italy, playing in the Europa League with Atalanta and Lazio and playing in a Euro Cup tournament with Albania.
Fernando Muslera – Age: 31 – Club: Galatasaray – National Team: Uruguay
The goalkeeper from Uruguay plays for Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray. After a direct player swap in 2011, Muslera departed Lazio in 2011 and headed to Istanbul where he continues to serve as Galatasaray’s guardian.
Muslera has made close to 300 appearances for Lazio and Galatasaray in both domestic league action and continental tournaments. In these matches, Muslera showcased his abilities to frustrate his opponents by extending his body to successfully make improbable saves on a regular basis.
As a member of the Uruguayan national team, it is normal for most of the attention to go to the popular forwards Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but Muslera played a key role in saving many matches for his country. At 31-years-old, Muslera still has enough in the tank for a few more good years in a major league, and with his extensive experience in major continental and international tournaments, Muslera would be a major upgrade in goal.