After 11 games and even fewer months on Tyneside, Matz Sels' days could be numbered.
Rafael Benitez may have defended the Belgian international after he gifted Robert Snodgrass an instant equaliser in their EFL Cup quarter-final defeat to Hull City last month, but Sels’ display only reinforced the opinion of the majority of the club’s fans.
Namely, that the former Genk goalkeeper is not a man cut out for the rough and tumble nature in English football.
In fact, after a series of shaky displays characterised by an inability to command his area in this most physical of leagues, Benitez dropped the 24-year-old indefinitely in October, replacing him with Karl Darlow.
The former Nottingham Forest youngster has gone from strength to strength in between the sticks, notably saving two penalties in the nine-man Magpies’ narrow defeat to Forest last week, Sels is no nearer to a first-team return.
And, if he’s distinctly second placed now, he can only expect to drop further down the pecking order once Benitez retains the services of a goalkeeper who came into his own during Tim Krul’s injury-enforced absence last season.
Without Elliot’s often virtuoso performances in between the sticks, most memorably in a vital win away at Bournemouth, Newcastle could well have been welcomed into the second tier a little sooner.
Rumours suggested Sels was set for a sharp return to Belgium in the upcoming transfer window and the form of Darlow, coupled with Elliot’s return and Krul building up his match fitness on loan at Ajax with a view to a first-team return at St James’, means the Belgian may find that his Newcastle career is over after just 11 largely unconvincing games.