To the majority of Newcastle United supporters, reports in The Sun late in the summer transfer window that the club was planning a shock move for Crystal Palace ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey was a surefire sign of desperation.
Despite representing Wales on 70 occasions and boasting plenty of Premier League experience following spells at Wolves and Palace, Hennessey is hardly one of the top flight’s most reputable shot-stoppers with a game-changing mistake never far away.
In fact, it is difficult to see how the 30-year-old could even be seen as a dramatic upgrade on the goalkeepers currently at Newcastle’s disposal, including Rob Elliot, Karl Darlow and talented Under-20 World Cup hero Freddie Woodman.
Yet, Hennessey could be forgiven for wondering if his life would have been a little easier had he been given the chance to swap Selhurst Park for St James’ this summer.
After a sluggish start, Newcastle have now won three games on the bounce and, prior to this weekend’s round of fixtures, were sitting pretty in fourth place in the table. Not bad for a newly promoted team.
It is fair to say Palace, however, are not enjoying the same vertigo-inducing climb up the top flight table. Saturday’s 5-0 thumping at a rampant Manchester City means that team now coached by Roy Hodgson are bottom of the Premier League after six defeats from six.
And while all the focus has been on their lack of firepower, no team in Premier League history had failed to score in the first six games of a new season till now, there is further cause for concern at the other end of the pitch.
No side has conceded more than Palace’s 13 goals in 2017/18. And Hennessey, who has been far from blameless in the opening weeks of the season, was left brutally exposed at the Etihad on Saturday as Palace’s defence collapsed in the face of fearsome opposition.
The fact that Hennessey even made a few smart stops but was still forced to pick the ball out of his net five times speaks volumes.