Newcastle United can afford to cash-in on Freddie Woodman during the January transfer window after Arsenal reportedly shortlisted the goalkeeper.
According to football.london, the Gunners have placed Woodman on their shortlist of candidates to target this month as Technical Director Edu eyes options who can strengthen Mikel Arteta’s ranks between the sticks.
Arsenal signed Alex Runarsson to fill the void created by Emiliano Martinez’s move to Aston Villa last summer, but have not been totally impressed by the Iceland international after a string of shaky performances.
Matt Macey has also departed Arsenal to weaken their homegrown quota which a move for long-term target Woodman would help to resolve, having monitored the former England U21 international in 2018 and again throughout his initial loan spell with Swansea City last season.
Woodman is thought to fit the profile of who Arteta would like to see Arsenal sign in the mid-season market, with the Gunners chasing a shot-stopper who is also good with their feet, and could be attracted to a move to north London where his father is the Head of Under 23s Goalkeeping.
The 23-year-old is currently back on loan with Swansea having agreed to spend a second term in south Wales after penning a contract extension, which keeps Woodman tied down at St. James’ Park until 2023, having otherwise been a free agent at the end of this season.
He has been one of the second-tier’s top ‘keepers this term with 14 clean sheets in 23 games after shutting out Barnsley on Saturday, to move four clear of AFC Bournemouth’s Asmir Begovic in the race for the Golden Glove award.
Newcastle would be passing up on a top young goalkeeper by selling Woodman, yet can afford to cash-in on the £6.5m-rated star amid Arsenal’s renewed interest having seen Karl Darlow step up to the plate and deliver consistently this season.
Darlow had almost become the forgotten man on Tyneside, having not made a Premier League appearance in 951 days before starting the season-opener at West Ham United last September.
Since then, he has given Steve Bruce a real dilemma over who his first-choice goalkeeper is now that Martin Dubravka has returned from a pre-season heel injury, having not only kept three clean sheets in 17 top-flight games but produced key saves to keep the Magpies in fixtures when they have otherwise been humbled.
Particularly at Tottenham Hotspur, when given a 10/10 match rating by Chronicle Live, and again against Liverpool, Darlow stood out and is now seen to be making a case for earning a potential England call-up under Gareth Southgate.
Woodman is making a case for himself to be a future starter in the north-east with his efforts for Swansea, but that chance may be a few years out yet. Something he no doubt will refuse to accept, having had no interest in becoming Dubravka’s back-up last summer.
The situation ensured he left on loan once again, to join a side where manager Steve Cooper hails Woodman and Ian Mitchelmore, Swansea City correspondent for Wales Online, believes he is continually improving.
“[Woodman] has looked assured under the high ball, which was something he occasionally struggled with last season. Fans have been pleased with his attitude and his performances, and Woodman has built a strong rapport with the Swansea faithful, even with supporters still unable to attend matches,” Mitchelmore told Chronicle Live.
The arrival of Mark Gillespie in the previous transfer window has also given Bruce a third-choice goalkeeper to provide depth behind Darlow and Dubravka, now offering Newcastle Managing Director Lee Charnley further reason to urge Bruce to accept any offer from Arsenal that may come their way for Woodman this month.
AND in other news, a £2m-rated Newcastle target’s potential has been questioned by his current side.