Newcastle United boss, Rafael Benitez has sent his best scouts to check out Hajduk Split goalkeeper, Karlo Letica. The 21-year-old was previously approached by Manchester United and Real Madrid but turned down the moves in pursuit of more first-team involvement.
Ideally, the Magpies might be able to provide that for Letica but is it worth spending £8m for second choice options at the moment? Benitez is not exactly flush at the moment with the club owner, Mike Ashley, who hesitating to provide the Spaniard with any financial leverage. Such was the case in the January window and a repeat of the similar drama is expected come July.
The former Liverpool manager has not only delivered on his own promises but he has also warned the Magpies board of the unfortunate tales that could befall the squad at the St James’ Park outfit if money is not spent in the subsequent windows. United might be in the top-half of the table at the moment but their future in the Premier League is in no way cemented. What Benitez has managed to do with just three loan signings from the winter transfer window is nothing short of extraordinary but unfortunately, will be far too hard to repeat.
Letica is not only a young keeper but is also quite firmly built in his 6 feet 7 inches stature. The 21-year-old is practically a giant in front of the goal line and has the pedigree of flourishing in the Premier League. He would also be addressing Newcastle’s age-old questions over the goalkeeper positions.
While Martin Dubravka has managed to solidify the position during his short stay at Tyneside, his permanent signing from Sparta Prague has not been confirmed just yet. Benitez is pushing for the transfer of the 29-year-old who has done remarkably well in between the sticks.
Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot are no longer being considered for the league games and Freddie Woodman is out serving a short loan spell with Aberdeen.
The main reason as to why Dubravka succeeded in England’s top-flight is because of the experience he already had under his belt. The man is already a 10-time Slovakia international and had spent his entire playing career in the European top-flight, something Letica has not quite managed to do just yet.
The latter has just recently broken into the first team of the Croatian outfit and has registered 18 appearances this season. However, he still has ways to go before he could be given a major role in one of the most prestigious clubs in English football.
While the transfer is warranted as a long-term option, there is no way that Benitez prioritizes this move over the more necessary additions, like a striker for instance.