By Russell Edge
Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has revealed that the Magpies were struggling to offload fan favourite Tim Krul before Brighton swooped late in the transfer window.
The Dutch international keeper was deemed surplus to requirements by Benitez, with the likes of Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot and Freddie Woodman all at the club vying for a place between the sticks.
He managed to secure a loan move to fellow promoted side Brighton towards the end of the window, before that temporary move was turned into a permanent one just days before the two sides face off on the south coast.
However, Benitez admits that drumming up interest for Krul was a difficult task, but were happy for him to depart in order to secure more first team action.
He also admits that a permanent move was always in the offing which puts an end to the goalkeeper’s 12 years on Tyneside.
The Spanish boss told the Chronicle: “We hadn’t had too many enquiries about him, and then one day Brighton came and asked, so we said: ‘OK, he has to go and play.’
“The reality is that it was done before and at the beginning it was the same. It was always a permanent deal, the way it was structured.
“I wish him all the best – but that’s it.”
Krul made 187 appearances for the Tyneside club after joining from Dutch side ADO Den Haag and became a firm fan favourite, but a serious injury while on duty with his country saw him ruled out of action before falling out of favour under new boss Benitez.
In other Newcastle United news, Benitez has given a surprising verdict ahead of the clash with Brighton on Sunday.