Leeds United have joined the race to sign Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow, according to Sky Sports News. The Magpies backup is the subject of interest from a number of the Whites' Championship rivals as well as Bournemouth.
Ilan Meslier is one of a host of first-team stars facing an uncertain future at Elland Road, with the goalkeeper dropped by Sam Allardyce during the relegation run-in. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Chelsea, although he has warned any transfer would be dependent on being guaranteed the status of being the number-one goalkeeper.
If Leeds see off competition to land Darlow this summer, what should supporters expect from the 32-year-old? Here is the view from Newcastle and our sister title ChronicleLive on whether the experienced goalkeeper would be a smart signing.
What sort of goalkeeper is Darlow? What could Leeds fans expect?
Darlow has proven himself to be a consistent and reliable shot-stopper during his nine-year spell on Tyneside so far. The former Nottingham Forest prospect is steady between the sticks and at claiming crosses, while also being comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Granted, Darlow is not a specialist in possession and no sweeper-keeper, which may be an area of slight concern dependent on the demands of the new manager. But with vast Championship and Premier League experience, Leeds would be getting a proven performer who has shown himself capable of handling the required expectations at Elland Road.
How would you assess his time at Newcastle?
From the club's perspective, Darlow has turned out to be a sound investment. Brought in from Forest in a double deal with now-Newcastle club captain Jamaal Lascelles, the duo have delivered when called upon during the good times and the bad at St James' Park.
From the player's viewpoint however, it has probably proven to be a frustrating stiny. Darlow has never had an extended spell as Newcastle's number one, taking the jersey from Matz Sels under Rafa Benitez but then spending several seasons as Martin Dubravka's understudy.
An injury to the Slovakian international led to a first-team run at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign, even prompting calls from some quarters for an England call-up. For the most part though, Darlow has had to contend with a place on the bench.
What is Newcastle's current transfer stance?
The Magpies will surely be open for business this summer as their goalkeeping department faces a revamp. Nick Pope is the undisputed number one, while Dubravka returned from a loan spell with Manchester United to take his place as Eddie Howe's second-choice goalkeeper.
Loris Karius was thrown into the deep end for his Newcastle debut in the Carabao Cup final defeat to the Red Devils, and has been offered terms to extend his stay. Mark Gillespie has also had his contract extended, and will likely serve as the third-choice for the role.
In short, Newcastle will be open for business for at least one of their goalkeepers with Darlow the obvious candidate to leave. He could in turn be followed by Dubraka should Karius decide to continue with the club.
Should the move materialise, do you think he would be a success at Leeds?
The signing of Darlow would be an astute piece of business at the reported price tag of £5m. Leeds need to secure an swift return to the Premier League, and Darlow has proven himself to be a very good goalkeeper at Championship level, again proving this in his recent loan at Hull City.
The shot-stopper has title-winning experience in the second tier, and would quickly help alleviate the defensive concerns which have plagued Leeds in recent seasons. If the Whites do achieve promotion, Darlow would also be able to fulfil a role with the team in the Premier League, whether it be as a number one still or as a capable backup keeping a new man on his toes.