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Newcastle could seal upgrade with Wojciech Szczesny signing

Newcastle United may well be wise to step up their reported interest in Juventus goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, with the experienced gem having proven his quality while in action for Poland at the World Cup.

Reports back in October suggested that the Magpies’ sporting director Dan Ashworth had been keeping tabs on the 32-year-old for ‘some time’ – alongside a number of other unnamed Premier League clubs – with an offer of around 18m (£15.5m) seemingly said to be enough to prise the former Arsenal man from Turin.

The piece also claimed that the Warsaw-born colossus is facing an uncertain future with the Old Lady due to his current contract status, with the 6 foot 5 menace having just 18 months left on his existing deal at the Allianz Stadium.

The 70-cap menace – who has racked up 76 clean sheets in 190 games during his five-year stay with Il Bianconeri – will likely have put himself in the shop window as a result of his stunning form in Qatar, having been integral in helping to guide his nation out of the group stage.

The £200k-per-week man recorded two clean sheets and made 23 saves from his four outings in the competition, notably saving a vital penalty on the stroke of half-time in the win over Saudi Arabia in the second group game.

Szczesny was then able to replicate that impact in the subsequent clash against Argentina, brilliantly denying the iconic figure of Lionel Messi from the penalty spot after having been harshly penalised for a foul on the Paris Saint-Germain genius that led to the spot-kick.

That save to deny the former Barcelona talisman was notably lauded by St James’ Park legend, Alan Shearer, with the striker-turned-pundit stating: “It’s a really good save. Poland have got their goalkeeper to thank for getting them through to the next round. He was magnificent tonight.”

Such a contribution ultimately helped to secure his nation’s place in the last-16 despite the eventual defeat to the Copa America holders, although the one-time Gunners ace was then helpless to prevent the loss to a Kylian Mbappe-inspired France in that first knockout round.

Even so, the ‘keeper’s overall performance should well have caught the attention of those on Tyneside, having recorded an average match rating of 7.92, as per Sofascore – the fourth-best in the competition as a whole – while he also ranks top for average saves made (5.3).

While summer signing Nick Pope is currently thriving for the northeast side – having been part of a league-best defensive unit that has shipped just 11 goals this season – the ten-cap Englishman is arguably unable to match that big game experience, having remained on the sidelines for the Three Lions in Qatar thus far.

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Equally, Szczesny also has a better record with regards to goals against in comparison to those in his position in Europe as the Pole averages 0.93 goals conceded per 90 and has a 40% clean sheet percentage, while Pope averages 1.00 conceded per 90 and has a 37.8% clean sheet percentage.

For all the former Burnley man’s brilliance this season, Eddie Howe and co could seemingly land a possible upgrade in the form of the World Cup hero, with the latter man also providing the benefit of regular Champions League and major tournament involvement.

Following the one-time Roma loanee’s displays of late, Ashworth would well be wise to consider making a concrete approach in the winter window.