Leeds United’s interest in Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow is well known by now, and according to Phil Hay of Yorkshire Evening Post, the Whites are looking to pull off this deal in the early half of January. However, the latest interview from the Toon manager Rafael Benitez would be a major dampener for the Whites as he said that they are not looking to sell anyone in the winter transfer period.
Benitez was quoted as saying (Nottingham Post),”We are not really interested in selling anyone. The only one (goalkeeper) that is available in the window is Rob Elliot.” Darlow has his contract up until 2020 at St. James’ Park, and it is surprising to see that the Spanish manager is still willing to hold on to him.
Newcastle have Martin Dubravka as their first choice custodian this season, and the Slovakian has been impressive ever since he joined the Tyneside club in January. His loan spell was turned into a permanent deal over the summer, and he is firmly established as the no.1 in goal.
Karl Darlow has been acting as the second choice goalkeeper, but Newcastle also have the likes of Freddie Woodman and Rob Elliot. Woodman is considered as a massive talent as he played a significant role in England’s maiden FIFA u-20 World Cup win where he saved a penalty in regulation time in the final when the Three Lions were leading by just one goal.
Given the options Benitez has, it is surprising to see that he is looking to keep hold of Darlow. In all this, the Whites are going to turn out as the biggest loser as they seemed to be very keen on him. However, one cannot still rule out a possibility of a move especially if the player himself tries to push for a move away in January. That is the only way Bielsa might be able to get his man if Darlow hands in a transfer request as Benitez is keen to hold on to the 28-year-old.
Bielsa is in desperate need of a goalkeeper and he only has Bailey Peacock Farrell as a viable option. The Northern Ireland international is still a work in progress and the youngster has conceded some sloppy goals so far this season. The manager brought in Jamal Blackman in the summer from Chelsea on loan but the Englishman’s season is done after he fractured his tibia.
The club might have to look at other options now if Newcastle aren’t going to sell Darlow in January. The former Nottingham Forest custodian would have been an upgrade over Peacock Farrell, and Benitez’s recent comments is definitely a worrying sign for Bielsa.