The Premier League's emergency goalkeeper rules explained

Rob Elliot
Rob Elliot

Newcastle United are investigating the possibility of signing a goalkeeper on an emergency loan – after Rob Elliot joined Tim Krul and Karl Darlow in the treatment room.

Elliot suffered a thigh injury in Saturday's goalless draw against Stoke City at St James's Park.

With Darlow weeks away from a return, 18-year-old Freddie Woodman is on standby to make his Premier League debut against Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium on Saturday.

United head coach Steve McClaren said: "We will have to investigate it (an emergency loan), because if we fear the worst with Rob and we have only got one keeper."

Newcastle are unable to sign a free agent – like ex-United goalkeeper Steve Harper, for example – as the club does NOT have have space in its 25-man Premier League squad.

In such cases, clubs can apply to the league's board to take a goalkeeper on an emergency loan.

The league will look at how many fit professional goalkeepers are available to the club. Each each case will be judged on its merits.

If there is only one goalkeeper fit and available to the manager or head coach, the club would most likely be granted permission to sign another goalkeeper on a short-term emergency loan.

The club would then be free to approach other Premier League clubs to ask to take a goalkeeper on loan.

One candidate for Newcastle, should the club be given permission to make a loan signing, is Manchester United's Victor Valdes, who has been frozen out at Old Trafford by Louis van Gaal.

United, of course, attempted to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency loan last December with both Elliot and Krul sidelined.

But the Premier League turned down the club's request as, technically, it had Darlow, Woodman and Jak Alnwick available to then-manager Alan Pardew.

However, Darlow was on a season-long loan at Nottingham Forest, with no option of a recall.

In the end, the club had to field Alnwick in goal for eight league and cup games until Krul returned to fitness.