Newcastle United have confirmed their first signing of the summer transfer window – Martin Dubravka on a four-year contract. The Magpies, much to the joy of Rafael Benitez, activated the buy-back clause that they had agreed with Sparta Prague, although the exact transfer price remains undisclosed.
The 29-year-old has quite clearly been a massive hit at the St James’ Park as reflected upon by the manager. Rafael Benitez was quoted, “Ever since he arrived with us on loan he has shown a fantastic attitude and great work ethic. This was one of the key positions we needed to strengthen.”
Right upon his arrival, Dubravka took charge of the Newcastle goal line and in his debut game showed everyone what he is capable of. Manchester United succumbed to a 1-0 loss at Tyneside as the Slovakia international stayed relentless in the goal line, making crucial saves and fisting out contested aerial balls with grace.
An absolute zero adjustment period for new goalkeepers is the dream for all Premier League clubs. Dubravka looked unfazed against the constant battering of the United attack and ever since has not looked back towards the Magpies bench.
He appeared in the last 12 league games of the 2017/18 season to register 4 clean sheets and help Newcastle keep their place in the English top-flight. For a player who has spent his entire career in the less illustrious parts of Europe, he encapsulated the Newcastle audience and won the hearts of many with his in-goal heroics.
He has taken to the English game like a fish to water and has given the United defence a solid structure. After all, Benitez can only wait so long for Rob Elliot to get over his injury concerns and for Karl Darlow to start being consistent.
Freddie Woodman might be a perfect number one for the future but right now is still too young. His spell with Aberdeen has gone off well and should be found another outfit for further development in the coming season.
Right now Dubravka will be able to hold down the fort behind a young and formidable backline. His arrival is a massive relief for Benitez and the fans after what seemed like an onset of another frustrating transfer window.
Mike Ashley’s hesitance to put any sort of cash amount on the hands of Benitez could take a serious toll on the club’s future. At least Benitez can rest easy over his defensive concerns and look to divulge all his energy on making improvements to the offensive roles.