Newcastle United are reportedly considering a bid for FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa in the January transfer window, but it could be a disastrous move by the Magpies’ sporting director Dan Ashworth.
According to reports from Portugal (via Chronicle Live), Eddie Howe’s side are keen on signing the 22-year-old shot-stopper in the winter, although they may need to pay his £51.9m release clause if they want to sign him from the Primeira Liga champions.
The reports suggest that Newcastle scouted the young ‘keeper in June and are considering a January swoop, despite Nick Pope’s impressive start to the season which has seen him pick up three clean sheets in six Premier League games.
While Costa seems to be a top prospect and has started the campaign in equally strong form, accruing three clean sheets in five league games for Porto, it seems a strange move by Ashworth to bring in another top ‘keeper so soon after signing Pope.
Last season saw the 22-year-old establish himself as the number one at the Estádio Dragão as he made 33 appearances in the league, earning a 6.56 average rating from WhoScored for his performances.
He has improved on that form so far this term, averaging a 6.86 rating across his five league appearances, but he is playing for a top team in a less competitive league than the English top flight, so it is difficult to suggest that he would immediately oust Pope in Howe’s starting XI.
The former Burnley man has averaged a superb 7.27 rating for his Premier League performances this season and was recently named Newcastle’s player of the month for August, so to be looking for a potential replacement for the England international already seems like an insult to the 30-year-old.
Costa is eight years younger than Pope and could be a long-term replacement for the former Burnley man, but if Newcastle were to pay his hefty £51.9m release clause, you would expect him to be starting right away at St James’ Park, and Pope still has plenty of years left at the top level.
Although Martin Dubravka has left the club to join Manchester United, Howe still has Karl Darlow available as a solid deputy to Pope, and it seems strange that Ashworth would want to pay so much for Costa in January when other positions are definitely in greater need of strengthening.
To discommode Pope so early into his Newcastle career, after such an eye-catching start on Tyneside, could prove to be a disastrous move by Ashworth.