Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez was reportedly chasing a new goalkeeper all last summer, finally getting a starting caliber backstop on loan in January.
That keeper was 29-year-old Martin Dubravka, and that loan from Sparta Prague had an option to buy.
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Newcastle has purchased Dubravka and signed him through 2021-22 after an outstanding 12-match stint between the sticks.
Dubravka kept three clean sheets and allowed just one total goal in a trio of wins over Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
Here’s Benitez, from NUFC.co.uk:
“Ever since he arrived with us on loan he has shown a fantastic attitude and great work ethic, and of course we have been very impressed with his performances for us on the pitch last season.
“This was one of the key positions we had identified we needed to strengthen and had been concerned about, so it is excellent news that we are able now to sign him on a permanent basis.”
That one fix was as important as any in Newcastle’s second half revival, with Kenedy‘s loan from Chelsea another revelation. A clinical striker, something they’ve lacked in Premier League play dating back to Demba Ba, Loic Remy, and Papiss Cisse‘s early days, would catapult them into a higher table discussion.