Newcastle make their move to tie up four-year deal for keeper

Newcastle loan keeper Martin Dubravka. Picture by Frank Reid
Newcastle loan keeper Martin Dubravka. Picture by Frank Reid
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Newcastle United are in talks to sign Martin Dubravka.

The Sparta Prague goalkeeper spent the second half of the season on loan at St James’s Park.

Dubravka impressed between the posts as the Magpies climbed away from relegation trouble.

There was a clause in the 29-year-old’s loan enabling United to make the move permanent for a reported fee of £3.5million.

Manager Rafa Benitez suggested last week that the deal would be “easy” to do.

“It’s an easy one,” said Benitez.

“If he’s happy, we’re happy with him.

“It’s easy, we have plenty of time. It could get wrapped up next week, or two weeks’ time. It doesn’t matter.”

The Tynesiders, who secured a 10th-placed finish in the Premier League after beating Chelsea 3-0 at St James’s Park on the final day of the season, have made their move.

Dubravka made it clear he wanted to earn a move to Newcastle after arriving at St James’s Park.

“I really hope I get to stay longer than six months,” said the Slovakia international before he made his debut.

“It’s a huge opportunity for my life.”

United are understood to have drawn up a four-year deal.

Newcastle’s move for Dubravka puts a question mark over the United futures of goalkeepers Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot.

Darlow, 27, came close to joining Middlesbrough last summer in a £5million deal.

Meanwhile, talks are ongoing between Benitez’s representatives and the club’s hierarchy over a summer transfer budget. Newcastle want the 58-year-old – who has a year left on his deal – to sign a new contract.

However, Benitez will only commit his future to United if he is satisfied that the club’s ambitions match his own.

West Ham United – who came close to appointing Benitez before he took the Real Madrid job in 2015 – yesterday parted company with manager David Moyes. Benitez is reportedly on the Hammers’ managerial shortlist.