Three January solutions for Newcastle following bitter injury blow

As is usually the case in football, when you are down at the bottom of the league, little seems to go your way.

This is especially true for Newcastle United at the moment, who recently lost goalkeeper Tim Krul for the rest of the season to injury.

With largely untested deputy Karl Darlow also struggling for fitness, manager Steve McClaren must surely be looking to the January window when he might be able to bring in reinforcements.

Here are THREE potential keepers that should be on his radar as he looks to plug a major hole in his squad.

Stephane Ruffier

An option is of course to go out and splash the cash on a player who would fill in for Krul during his absence and then compete with him for the number one jersey on his return.

One such possibility would be Stephane Ruffier. The Saint-Etienne stopper has been a Ligue 1 stalwart for nearly a decade now and his consistency has seen him regularly feature around the fringes of the French national side.

The 29 year old would bring experience and is well accustomed to playing in front of big noisy crowds at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

It is believed that Ruffier, who has spent his entire career in France so far, would like to try his hand elsewhere.

Newcastle would in theory be buying a keeper who is entering his best years. It may not necessarily be a straightforward deal however, as he remains first choice for his current side and they would need to have a replacement in mind to do business in January. The two clubs would also need to agree on a fee, possibly of around £7.5 million.

Victor Valdes

The long-running saga over the future of David De Gea meant that Manchester United went about collecting goalkeepers over the last year or so.

With De Gea now firmly reestablished as the number-one choice, a bit of a queue has formed behind him. Victor Valdes though, is not even in contention having fallen foul of Louis Van Gaal for supposedly refusing to play in the reserves .

The Spaniard won virtually everything in the game during a 12-year spell at Barcelona and a more battle-hardened stopper would be difficult to come by. The breakdown in relations with the manager should have seen him make a quick exit but a move to Turkey collapsed.

It is possible Valdes is content to sit with his feet up, or at the very least wait for a chance to return to Spain. If he could be motivated to move to the north east however, it could prove an absolute masterstroke as there is no disputing his credentials and he would represent a low-risk, short-term solution.

Sam Johnstone

Johnstone

Young English keeper Sam Johnstone is also at Old Trafford, but unlike Valdes he is early in his career. However, similarly to his team-mate, his chances of first-team football appear slim.

He is currently third choice behind De Gea and Sergio Romero but the club have refused to allow him to go on loan after Van Gaal and Valdes burnt their bridges.

At 22 Johnstone could represent a sound investment for The Magpies if they could bring him in. He is highly rated at Old Trafford but with De Gea now committed for the foreseeable future, the England youth international may well need to move on to have any chance of establishing himself as a Premier League player.

His lack of experience could prove the main barrier to any move as Johnstone has yet to feature for a team above the Championship.

Come January, his current manager plans to review the decision not to loan him out so it is possible that Newcastle could peruse a temporary switch with an option to buy at that stage.