Here is why Martin Dubravka's move to Newcastle nearly didn't happen

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka
Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka

Martin Dubravka is already a fans favourite at Newcastle United - but a move to the Magpies might not have happened.

Not many had heard of the 29-year-old after initially signing on loan in January, although it didn't take long for him to impress on Tyneside.

His debut inspired the Magpies to a 1-0 win over Manchester United in February - a victory which proved the catalyst to Newcastle's successful fight against relegation.

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In fact, Dubravka had not conceded a goal at St James's Park in his first three appearances with the club enduring a four-game winning streak as they secured their top-flight status after coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 in mid-April.

Much to the approval of Newcastle fans, Dubravka was snapped up on a permanent basis in the summer for a bargain price of £4.5million.

And while it had taken 11 games for the Slovakian international to taste his first Magpies win as a permanent addition, criticism very rarely came his way with his performances matching those standards set from last season.

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However, there had been long standing interest in Dubravka from elsewhere - according to the Daily Mail.

Speaking about Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez and his time on Tyneside so far, the report revealed Dubravka was scouted by Chelsea at the age of 21 before receiving concrete offers from Sheffield United and Aston Villa.

Since joining Benitez's side, Dubravka has made 23 successive appearances, collected eight clean sheets and became a key figure in the dressing room.