Early Wednesday, the Chronicle reported that Reading is interested in signing Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow. The fee is rumored to be £5 million.
Rafa Benitez faces something of a surplus of keepers at the moment with Tim Krul, Matt Sels, Rob Elliot and Freddie Woodman in addition to Darlow. All could conceivably be in line for some first team appearances. Sels has already been loaned out to Anderlecht, but that still leaves four keepers looking for first team action.
Selling Darlow would certainly solve that problem, as Woodman is likely to be loaned out again after being deemed too young to start consistently in the Premier League at this point. Darlow gone would mean Elliot and Krul could split time and Woodman or Sels could be recalled in the event of an injury.
However, Newcastle might want to consider the consequences of moving on from Darlow. The 26-year-old put together a strong showing the final games of the Magpies relegation season in 2015. After a rough start, he settled in to allow only four goals over his last six appearances. He faced competition like Tottenham and Man City.
He then shouldered the load in the 2016 Championship campaign, starting 34 league matches in black and white. He showed promise for most of the season, only to lose his job in the final days to Elliot.
Newcastle has been in this situation once before. Back in the summer of 2012, the Toon decided to sell promising keeper Fraser Forster to Celtic after a pair of successful loan spells with Norwich and then Celtic. Forster went on to have a successful two years with the Scottish champions before being sold for £12.5 million to Southampton, where he has become one of the most reliable Premier League keepers. Forster even made his debut for England just a year after the Magpies let him go.
It is hard to say that Darlow will follow the exact same path, but he has a similar backstory. He had a successful loan spell with Nottingham before watching his career blossom with the Toons. Now there are rumors that he could be in line for an England call up in the near future.
Rather than risk Darlow following a very similar path to Forster, Newcastle would be smart to sell either Krul or Elliot and keep Darlow in the mix.
Should Newcastle sell Darlow?
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