In Focus: Newcastle would prove ambition with Jasper Cillessen addition

According to reports on Spanish website El Gol Digital, Newcastle United could make a January move for Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen as he looks to strengthen his squad.

What’s the word, then?

Well, El Gol Digital says that Magpies manager Rafa Benitez has shown an interest in Real Sociedad stopper Geronimo Rulli, who is expected to leave the Basque outfit next summer, but he may not wait until then if he can sign Cillessen from Barca in the New Year.

The 28-year-old has been the La Liga giants’ second-choice goalkeeper under Ernesto Valverde this term, and an exit seems likely sooner rather than later in order for him to play regularly.

El Gol Digital says that Benitez is willing to hand him that chance, having failed with moves for the likes of Pepe Reina and Willy Caballero during the summer transfer window.

How has Cillessen fared this season?

Not too well.

While he made 10 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan club last season, he has been limited to just one outing – in the Copa del Rey at the end of October – this term with Marc-Andre ter Stegen the undoubted number one.

The Dutchman will certainly be frustrated at his lack of opportunities, and may well feel that he needs to leave the Camp Nou to get regular game time.

Would he be a good signing for Newcastle?

He certainly would be.

While the 28-year-old has struggled to break into the starting XI at Barcelona you don’t earn a move there unless you have something special about you, and the Netherlands international was an impressive performer for Ajax previously, while he is a starter for his country.

Cillessen kept 63 clean sheets in 143 matches for the Dutch giants, conceding 119 goals, and says his strengths are in his reflexes, saving both close and long-range shots and his concentration.

Would the addition be harsh on Rob Elliot?

It probably would be as the 31-year-old has only conceded 10 goals in 11 Premier League matches this term having got the nod from Benitez to be his first-choice goalkeeper this season.

However, if Newcastle want to push on and avoid being sucked into relegation battles in the future then they need to consistently strengthen their squad, and bringing in Cillessen would be a huge statement of intent.