Newcastle United’s swoop for goalkeeper Matz Sels has thrown Tim Krul’s future into more doubt.
The Magpies yesterday moved to sign Gent shot-stopper Sels in a surprise first piece of summer transfer business.
The highly-rated 24-year-old had been linked with moves to Premier League trio Leicester City, Southampton and Middlesbrough, but Rafa Benitez stole a march on his rivals by persuading Sels that he could further his career at Newcastle despite their relegation to the Championship.
The deal will cost Newcastle around £4.5million, and shows Benitez’s desire to build a squad strong enough in depth to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
It looks set to signal the end of Krul’s 10-year Newcastle career, however. United’s longest-serving player is unlikely to be fit for the start of the season, as he battles back from a cruciate knee injury sustained back in November.
Krul has just a year left on his contract, and United were prepared to offer him a new deal, but the arrival of Sels means the Magpies are well stocked in the goalkeeping department.
Sels will challenge Karl Darlow for the No 1 jersey when Newcastle kick off their Championship campaign, with youngster Freddie Woodman likely to be allowed out on loan again.
Newcastle have Rob Elliot also on their books, with the Republic of Ireland international hoping to return from his own knee injury in October.
That leaves Krul as the most likely to depart before the transfer window closes, and the 28-year-old has already been linked with Everton and Crystal Palace this summer.
Sels, meanwhile, arrives on Tyneside on the back of another successful campaign, where he played in the Champions League for Gent after helping them to the Belgian title the year before.
The 6ft 2in keeper kept 18 clean sheets last season and earned a call-up to the Belgium squad, but missed out on a place at Euro 2016.
He will put pen to paper on a five-year deal today after passing his medical.