We’re not even close to the next transfer window opening, but rumors keep coming in bunches on daily basis. It’s the life of the Geordie Fan since a little something happened all the way back in October, and then everything went pretty much confirmed with the arrivals of Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Dan Burn, Matt Targett (loan), and Bruno Guimaraes for a grand total in excess of €100M. Not bad for a start, that economy flex.
But with all of those arrivals and a seemingly legit board willing to spend as much dough as needed to build Newcastle United into a powerhouse, the rumors are just getting ridiculously uncontrollable. Ask Ousmane Dembele. Yeah, right...
Anyway, and keeping up the French Beat that Newcastle has for some reason been heavily linked to, a fresh “target” has popped up on the Magpies front of late.
Paris Saint Germain might have just won their 10th Ligue 1 title this past weekend but they are entering a very cricial summer because of a horrific squad building plan (Kylian Mbappe can leave for nothing, just to name one small thing...) and a manager soon to be fired in Mauricio Pochettino—no matter whether Antonio Conte moves to the French capital or not.
Most recently, though, news broke about a potential situation getting hot concerning PSG's two top-tier goalkeepers. Just last week, speaking to Canal+, Keylor Navas dropped the bomb saying that he doesn’t know if he’ll remain in Paris next season because of his steady fights for playing time with fellow keeper Gigi Donnarumma.
Keylor Navas à Canal+ : « Toujours là l’an prochain ? Il faut étudier des choses. J’ai une bonne relation avec Gigio. Je veux jouer tous les matchs. Une situation comme cette année ce sera compliqué. On verra. (…) La situation doit changer d’une manière ou d’une autre. »— Hadrien Grenier (@hadrien_grenier) April 20, 2022
In fact, Navas has started 19 Ligue 1 games to Gigi’s 15. Gigi has edged the Costa Rica international in Champions League play with five starts to the South American three. On and on. Things are getting a little bit weird between these two, so much so that even Poch had to step up to the plate to clarify the situation. In his own words:
“Keylor explained his feelings about the future and not about what happened in the past. I think he explained himself very well. The most important thing is that we achieve our goals and finish the year in the best way we can.”
“We will write the future in different circumstances, taking into account the experience of what happened this season. That goes for Keylor Navas and many other players.”
Adding wood to the fire but from a very reasonable and understandable position, Gigi Donnarumma gave his two cents about the shot-stopping situation developing in Paris to Sky Sports yesterday, too, as Fabrizio Romano reported.
Gigio Donnarumma tells @SkySport: “I’m gonna stay at Paris Saint-Germain as I want to win here”. #PSG— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 24, 2022
“I’ve a great relationship with Keylor Navas but I'm here to be a starter. Things have to change, it’s not an easy situation for a goalkeeper as Keylor mentioned”.
Doesn’t take a genius to see the friction—if not personal at least at a professional and playing-level context. Navas is inching closer to finishing his professional career doing it at age-35 these days and will be turning 36 before the flip of the calendar page to 2023. Gigi, on the other hand, is still a 23-year-old cherub already sitting at the top of the goalkeeping order.
A quick look at both players’ numbers this season really paints a balanced picture, though, with Navas allowing 0.93 goals per 90 minutes to Gigi’s 0.90 and both getting virtually the same rates when it came to saving shots with marks of 77.7% and 78.6% respectively. Navas, though, was the more stay-at-home keeper (only 12 actions outside of the penalty area, 0.55 per 90 minutes) with Gigi way more active all season long (26 actions #OPA through the year and 1.30 #OPA/90).
It’d be absolutely logical for PSG to keep Gigi and move on from Keylor. Nobody would argue against that with the latter being 10+ years younger than the former. Navas, though, is still a quite capable keeper with a few years of fuel still in his tank.
But to this rumor, I say, why? Why add Keylor Navas? What is Navas going to do that Martin Dubravka isn’t already capable of or actually accomplishing on the field this season? Dubby is a veteran keeper but still two years younger than Navas. He has defended the goal 22 times in the Premier League this year and also started the lone FA Cup game Newcastle got to play.
While Newcastle might really need to land a GK this summer (there was interest by NUFC for Manchester United’s Dean Henderson back in January, though United wasn’t entirely for it), bringing a 36-year geezer is not quite the plan to follow if you ask me. Reserves Mark Gillespie (30) and Karl Darlow (31) are already on the wrong side of 30, and Freddie Woodman is still 25 but perhaps not a proper long-term solution.
The last thing Newcastle should want is to build a two-man rotation such as that working in Paris. You see what is going on down in the flamboyant French capital, and I’m not about President Macron’s re-election Sunday.
Of course, there is no point in comparing Gigi Donnarumma with Martin Dubravka. But that might actually make things even worse if Navas gets to the Premier League by the way of Tyneside. If Navas thinks he’s better than his current partner in crime, what would he think if put next to Dubby and relegated to a secondary role by Eddie Howe? How does that benefit the club, and the actual squad relations and seemingly fantastic vibes that the team has been exuding of late?
Rumors are cool, and I am definitely not plugged into Newcastle United as much as bona fide, day-to-day, legit reporters covering the club from a two-inch distance. Sometimes, though, it’s just clear who is trying to leak information, pushing agendas, and building narratives. And this case right here, as promising as it might sound absolutely devoid of context and focusing strictly on Navas’ ability, makes no sense in the grand scheme of Newcastle’s affairs.