Newcastle United’s goalkeeping situation behind Dubravka

Karl Darlow of Newcastle. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Karl Darlow of Newcastle. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) /

While Martin Dubravka is the clear-cut starter, there are some question marks behind him.

As we move closer to the 2020/21 Premier League season, there are a lot of question marks for Newcastle United. While there are uncertainties in the perspective starting lineup at striker, left-back, and maybe one of the wings, there is no doubt about the club’s starting goalkeeper. Martin Dubravka has occupied that position since he arrived initially on loan. But, behind him, there are definitely some things that the Magpies need to iron out.

Last season, the club had Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot on the depth chart below Dubravka. Elliot has departed as his contract expired, but Darlow is back and Mark Gillespie has signed to join the group. Ahead of the season starting, Steve Bruce will have to answer some questions. Does the club need to add another player to the position? Is Dan Langley ready to go from U-23 keeper to third string in the EPL?

Birmingham City are rumored to have made an approach to add Darlow on loan, but Newcastle declined because they reportedly felt he was needed to back up Dubravka. Darlow has Premier League experience, but he’s not a trusted, steady keeper. Fans were in a panic when Dubravka was hurt before the season’s hiatus because Darlow would have stepped in. He allowed seven goals in Newcastle’s FA Cup run, including six against Rochdale, Oxford United, and West Brom. He enters his final year under contract and no signs indicate Newcastle will extend him.

Gillespie joins the club after making nearly 60 starts for Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership, returning to his boyhood side. He finished the year with 11 clean sheets. The Magpies clearly trusted the 28-year-old enough to pursue him knowing their situation at the position moving forward.

Langley should both get a good look during preseason friendlies as fellow U-23 keeper Jake Turner went on loan with Morecambe. If somehow the 19-year-old Langley impress Bruce enough, he could serve as a third keeper behind Dubravka and Gillespie while Darlow goes on loan or gets sold while he still can be.

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Freddie Woodman is the goalkeeper of the future, but he’s on loan with Swansea City for the season after extending his contract with Newcastle United.

The club should pursue another veteran with Premier League experience, but I think there are a few different scenarios they can look at with just the players currently on the roster.