Steve Bruce should consider getting Freddie Woodman out of Newcastle United this summer amid claims Arsenal plan to launch a transfer pursuit of the goalkeeper.
According to Todo Fichajes, the Gunners have marked Woodman as their top target as they look to acquire Bernd Leno’s next first-team challenger at the end of the season.
Mikel Arteta’s north London club signed Alex Runarsson for £2m from Ligue 1 outfit Dijon FCO last summer, but the Iceland shot-stopper has received widespread criticism for his performances and fell to third in the pecking order after Mat Ryan joined on loan in January.
Arsenal now hope to hire a more suitable option to offer Leno competition long-term, and have fixed their eyes on a permanent move for Woodman following his efforts on loan with Swansea City in the Championship.
Woodman has kept 17 clean sheets in 29 second-tier fixtures this season as the Jacks strive for promotion back into the Premier League, no other goalkeeper has kept more than 13.
Newcastle had intended to present Woodman with a more prominent role to occupy at St. James’ Park upon his return, but will not stand in the 23-year-old’s way should a good offer arrive.
The £6.5m-rated ‘keeper has only made four first-team appearances for the Toon across his career, despite featuring in a senior squad for the first time in December 2014, while each of his outings to date have come in the FA Cup.
Newcastle allegedly consider Woodman to be their future number one, but he would likely return to Tyneside in the summer to serve as Bruce’s third-choice option behind Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow should both remain at St. James’ Park.
Bruce has already spoken on the ‘awful’ situation he finds himself in by having to choose between Darlow and Dubravka, though is happy to have that headache.
“We’ve got two quality goalkeepers and Martin again reminded us of what a good goalkeeper he is. Karl has been very good all season, so I’ve got one of them awful ones where let’s hope I pick the right one.”
That ‘awful’ situation may only get worse once Woodman’s loan spell with Swansea expires in the summer, at which point Bruce will have to weigh up which of the trio he can afford to part ways with.
At present, though, interest remains to be seen in either Darlow or Dubravka while Arsenal have been long-term admirers of Woodman, with curiosity in the former England U21 international dating back to 2018 and including a potential pursuit in January that failed to materialise.
Newcastle are now also said to be happy with selling Woodman in the summer as long as the offer received is enticing enough, and should be able to secure that with the 23-year-old under contract through to 2023 on terms penned just last year.
So, if Bruce wants to avoid his headache turning into a nightmare, he must boot Woodman out of St. James’ Park at the end of the season if Arsenal come knocking.