Eddie Howe 'delighted' with Newcastle United transfer decision after Man Utd U-turn

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Newcastle United transfers: Martin Dubravka's performances have cooled any talk of a goalkeeper addition this month.

Newcastle United were understood to be contemplating a short-term goalkeeper signing during the winter transfer window following Nick Pope's shoulder injury.

With Pope expected to be out until the back end of the season following a dislocated shoulder and surgery, Newcastle were linked with potential moves for former Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea as well as Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale. But Martin Dubravka stepped back into the side in Pope's absence and despite an initially shaky start, the 35-year-old has put in several strong displays since the start of the year.

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Dubravka Newcastle's man of the match in the 4-2 defeat at Liverpool on New Year's Day as he made a string of excellent saves, including a Mohamed Salah penalty. The Slovakian then made key stops in the FA Cup wins against Sunderland and Fulham before putting in another solid display in the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

With that, Newcastle's potential goalkeeping crisis has been addressed with Dubravka getting his first run of Premier League matches since the 2021-22 season.

And Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe is delighted to see Dubravka make the most of his opportunity.

"I think Martin has done very well," Howe told The Gazette. "You look back at the Fulham game where he made a key save for us. It was a very big moment in the game and a really good reach from him.

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"He's distributed the ball well as he always does. He's a really experienced goalkeeper and a really good role model, team-mate and trains really well.

"I'm delighted with how he responded to the challenge put in front of him because he hadn't played for a while and it was always going to be difficult to find your best rhythm straight away. I think he's improving week by week."

Martin Dubravka in action for Newcastle United against Aston Villa. Martin Dubravka in action for Newcastle United against Aston Villa.
Martin Dubravka in action for Newcastle United against Aston Villa. | AFP via Getty Images

Pope is set to return from injury in the Spring, leaving Howe with a decision to make later in the season. 

"Nick has still got some distance to go," Howe added. "He was given about four months to return and I think he's on track for that. As for the team selection, we'll have to wait and see when he returns to training."

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Dubravka's current contract at Newcastle is set to expire next summer with the player's agent David Zika admitting the player is facing an uncertain future on Tyneside.

Zika said via Sport.sk and i News: “Mato [Dubravka] is satisfied that he has the necessary minutes, but the truth is also that if Nick Pope comes back, United will have two quality goalkeepers and only one can play.

“I dare say that he will finish this season in Newcastle. I personally think, and we talked about it with him, that now he has excellent timing for everything. He’s playing, he’s getting better and better in every game, then the European Championships will come and he’ll only have a year left on his contract.

“If he wins the [Euros] in Germany, he can get into an excellent position and either negotiate better conditions in Newcastle, or he will look for another challenge, but we are already ahead of that.

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“I can imagine that Newcastle will offer him a contract extension for a year or two. In England, goalkeepers mature like wine and their loyalty is viewed very positively.”

Dubrakva joined Manchester United on loan in the summer of 2022 but decided to cut his spell at Old Trafford short after starting just two Carabao Cup matches. It was enough to earn him a Carabao Cup winners medal after Man United beat Newcastle 2-0 in last year's final at Wembley Stadium.

Dubravka made his first start of the season for Newcastle in a 3-0 Carabao Cup against Man United at Old Trafford back in November. He also returned to Premier League action after Pope was forced off with a dislocated shoulder in The Magpies' 1-0 win over Erik ten Hag's side the following month.

But Zika hasn't ruled out another Premier League move in the summer.

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“It is not excluded that Mato will want to look somewhere else," he added. "He is working to make his position as good as possible during the summer.

“It is not excluded that he would move within England as well. Everything will depend on him. If he has the appetite and is healthy, I can imagine that he can play at the highest level for four or five more years."

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