By Will Butcher
Newcastle are weighing up a move for Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, according to a report.
Italian publication TuttoUdinese claim the Toon are set to enter the transfer window for a new goalkeeper, but will face competition from Watford and Crystal Palace for Karnezis’ signature.
It is believed that Watford owner Gino Pozzi values the goalkeeper at £8.5million and is confident that will be enough to sign the Greece international after an eye-catching season.
Known for his instant reflexes, 31-year-old Karnezis has impressed onlookers between the sticks with a number of important saves that have proved crucial to Udinese’s season.
It has seen the Dacia Arena outfit avoid a relegation dog fight this term, as they sit in a lofty 11th place with two games still to play in Italy’s top flight.
Udinese’s number one has made 34 appearances in all competitions this season, tallying up eight clean sheets and conceding only 48 goals.
Rafa Benitez, however, currently has an abundance of goalkeepers available to him at St. James’ Park, with Rob Elliot, Matz Sels and Karl Darlow all vying for a first-team slot.
Holland international Tim Krul and academy product Freddie Woodman are also set to return to Tyneside this summer from loan spells.
Karnezis has a contract with the Serie A outfit for another two years but could be interested in a move to England after playing in Greece, Spain and Italy during his career.
Football Insider verdict:
Karnezis would certainly be installed as the Toon’s number one should he be brought to the north east by Benitez. His eye-catching handling and success when looking to claim the ball from crosses and dead-ball situations have made him a huge hit with the Udinese fans this season, after moving to Italy in the summer of 2014. A 41-time international, Karnezis possesses all the tools needed to be able to thrive in the Premier League and at £8.5million would prove a bargain. However, the signing of the former Panathanaikos and Granada stopper would spell the end for a number of Toon goalkeepers, with Matz Sels, Tim Krul and Freddie Woodman way down the pecking order.
In other Newcastle transfer news, fans are desperate for their club to complete the signing of this Premier League speed machine.