Newcastle set to axe two players to fund Benitez pursuit of experienced international - report
By Matt Farr
Newcastle are set to axe two goalkeepers this summer, and send another out on loan, to fund their pursuit of Napoli’s Pepe Reina, according to a report.
The Sun claim that Tim Krul, Matz Sels and Freddie Woodman are the three Newcastle players heading for the exit door at St. James’ Park, as Rafa Benitez eyes a reunion with his former star.
Benitez knows Reina well from his days as Liverpool manager, where the 34-year-old stopper made 395 appearances in all competitions, keeping 177 clean sheets.
The Daily Mirror had initially claimed last week that Benitez was planning a £4million swoop for the Napoli first-teamer this summer, after being handed the financial backing from the club’s board.
However, it is clear from the latest Sun report that the Newcastle chief still plans to balance the books by offloading three players before stepping up his pursuit of the Spain international.
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Reina, who has earned 34 senior international caps, would bring vital experience to Tyneside as Newcastle prepare to face-off against the elite in the Premier League next season.
Agent Manuel Quillon has already spoken to Napoli about an asking-price for his client, but his close ties to Benitez could also work in Newcastle’s favour in pursuit of a deal.
Newcastle currently have four senior goalkeepers on their books in Krul, Sels, Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot, while youngster Woodman will also be fighting for a place next term.
But the latest report suggests Benitez plans to sell both Krul and Sels, while Woodman will be offered out on loan for the second consecutive campaign.
Woodman, 20, had spent the second-half of last season on loan at Scottish outfit Kilmarnock.
Football Insider verdict
Given the return of Krul to the first-team squad following his back-to-back loan spells last season, it looked a slim prospect that Newcastle would even consider signing another goalkeeper. Darlow was the first-choice stopper last term, while Benitez only signed Sels at the start of the season. Elliot, on the other hand, missed the majority of the campaign through injury. But there is no denying that Reina would be an instant upgrade upon his current options, and if he can do a deal, then it would boost the club’s chances of ensuring their Premier League survival. Meanwhile, there should be no shortage of suitors for Krul, given his previous experience. Benitez should also be able to find a suitable new employer for Sels, although it might prove a little trickier.
In other Newcastle transfer news, Aston Villa should make a move for this reportedly unwanted first-team player.