The fact that there is still no new goalkeeper at St James’ Park perhaps sums up the frustration surrounding Newcastle United throughout the transfer window.
But, despite links with countless talented ‘keepers, Rob Elliot (below) has started the club’s first two games of the new season and exit-linked duo Karl Darlow and Tim Krul remain in the squad.
And the sight of Robbin Ruiter starring in his competitive debut for local rivals Sunderland on Tuesday does not help matters. HITC sources told us earlier in the transfer window that Newcastle were keeping tabs on the Dutchman following his release from FC Twente.
Newcastle's loss, Sunderland's gain?
However, Ruiter instead signed a deal with Sunderland after impressing on trial, producing some superb virtuoso performances in pre-season. And the 30-year-old justified The Black Cats’ faith when deputising for Jason Steele in Tuesday’s 2-1 EFL Cup victory away at Carlisle United.
Though hardly the most high profile of opposition, Ruiter did everything that was asked of him in style. A penalty save from Carlisle’s Danny Grainger will hog the headlines but his superb reaction stop to tip over a Jamie Devitt effort was one of the best stops of the entire round.
As such, Sunderland manager Simon Grayson will have a welcome selection headache when deciding whether or not to instil Ruiter as his regular number one ahead of fellow summer signing Steele.
Newcastle counterpart Benitez could only dream of such options. It remains to be seen whether Ruiter can maintain his impressive early form but, at the moment, Newcastle’s loss certainly looks to be Sunderland’s gain.