Why Newcastle United turned down Manchester United man for cut-price 'upgrade'

Newcastle United have strengthened in goal with the arrival of Nick Pope from Burnley.

The 30-year-old signed a four-year deal at St James’s Park after The Magpies agreed a £10million deal with the newly-relegated Championship club.

Head coach Eddie Howe had highlighted the goalkeeper position as one to strengthen and provide added competition for Martin Dubravka.

And Pope – an eight-time England international and 2019-20 PFA Premier League Team of the Year player – should do just that.

Newcastle United's French midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin (L) has an unsuccessful shot past Burnley's English goalkeeper Nick Pope (R) during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Newcastle United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 22, 2022. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

“Nick is an exceptional Premier League and international level goalkeeper,” Howe told the club website following Pope’s arrival. “So I’m very pleased to be adding strong competition to a very important position.

"There has been a lot of interest in him from other clubs this summer, so I’d like to thank our owners and everyone behind the scenes for getting us ahead of the competition

"I’m delighted he is joining us as we prepare for the exciting challenge ahead.”

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Newcastle’s interest in goalkeepers has been well-documented with Manchester United’s Dean Henderson strongly linked with a move. Reports from the North West claimed a deal to bring the 25-year-old to Newcastle was very close but club sources quickly played this down.

The Sheffield Star reported that The Magpies even contacted Henderson’s former club Sheffield United for a character reference, such was their interest.

But that interest cooled when the make-up of a potential deal became apparent. Manchester United’s preference was to loan Henderson for a season rather than sell him outright.

Although a £20million option to buy had been reported, Henderson’s weekly wage, understood to be around £100,000, and his lack of game time in the Premier League saw Newcastle explore their options elsewhere. Newly-promoted Nottingham Forest pounced to secure Henderson on loan while Newcastle turned their attention to signing Pope, whom they view as an upgrade.

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From Newcastle’s perspective, it was a deal that made more sense on all fronts.

Pope may be five years older than Henderson but Newcastle were able to secure him permanently straight away for just £10million. The 30-year-old has played consistent Premier League football over the past three seasons and his contract fit seamlessly into the club’s current wage structure.