Lost in all of the Davide Santon hubbub on Tuesday was the five year signing of 25 year-old goalkeeper Rob Elliot from Charlton Athletic. Elliot, who made almost 100 appearances with the League One side, has been brought in to back up Tim Krul alongside Steve Harper.
When news of the deal originally broke, I was very skeptical of the entire thing. Newcastle have two capable keepers, plus one on loan, so the position is hardly one of great need. That Alan Pardew continued to pursue Elliot after Charlton reported Newcastle to the Premier League for improper conduct has caused me to rethink my position. Harper has not been available since the start of the season as he's had problems with his surgically repaired knee, and given his age (36) and recent injury history, I have to believe that there's something going on behind the scenes that the public has not been told about.
In any case, it's clear that Elliot's role is as a backup. You don't bring in a 25 year-old to groom him as a replacement for a 23 year-old who is himself challenging for the #1 spot on his national team. How he performs as that backup remains to be seen. He has put up decent stats and received accolades wherever he has been, but those places have been a few rungs down on the English football pyramid. I'll be nervous about him until he proves that he can handle the bright lights of the Premier League, but given the price (use the original rejected bid of £100K as a reference point), it's a solid move. Often it's the moves that you originally assess as extraneous that end up making a difference. Let's just hope he isn't needed.