Perhaps Newcastle United knew all along that signing Nick Pope for just £10m in the summer would prove to be a bargain, but his performances so far suggest that Magpies sporting director Dan Ashworth has struck gold with the 30-year-old.
After making 155 appearances for Burnley and regularly playing a big part in them staying in the Premier League for six successive years, Pope and the Clarets eventually succumbed to relegation last season.
This paved the way for Newcastle to sign the England international for just £10m and he is already proving himself to be one of the signings of the summer.
Pope, who reportedly earns £59k per week at Newcastle, has kept three clean sheets in the first six games of the Premier League season and was awarded Newcastle’s Player of the Month award for August.
Newcastle have also been expected to concede 9.33 goals so far this season and have shipped just six thus far, which suggests that Pope is massively overperforming, with only Jordan Pickford preventing more goals at Everton among top-flight stoppers.
At 30, Pope is an excellent age for a goalkeeper and looks likely to keep his place in between the sticks for a few years at least. Signing him was definitely a superb investment by Dan Ashworth, who gained a glittering reputation at Brighton, bringing in the likes of Marc Cucurella and Moises Caicedo for what now look like bargain fees.
Since his appointment as Newcastle’s sporting director in early June, the Toon have brought in Pope, Matt Targett, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak on permanent deals.
While the latter three will likely have a big part to play this season and for years to come, the goalkeeper was the cheapest of the lot and the one with the most Premier League experience.
He is also ranked as Newcastle’s fifth-best performer this season according to WhoScored, so he has clearly made a big impact already, and his signing will surely go down as the first of hopefully many St James’ Park masterstrokes by Ashworth.