Karl Darlow of Newcastle United
Newcastle United were widely expected to make a move for a new goalkeeper during the summer transfer window, but Rafael Benitez ended the transfer window without a new shot-stopper in his ranks.
The Magpies started last season with Matz Sels in goal before dropping him in favour of Karl Darlow, but Rob Elliot ended the campaign in goal, and has started this season in the same role.
Benitez may look to bring in a new goalkeeper in January, and if he does, then forgotten man Darlow must move on – and he may well be eyeing an exit whether Newcastle sign another goalkeeper or not.
Karl Darlow of Newcastle United warms up
Darlow, 27, thrived with Nottingham Forest and has shown flashes of his quality with Newcastle, but was first stuck behind Tim Krul, and now Elliot, making just 43 league appearances in over two years at St. James' Park.
With no league appearances this season, Benitez clearly feels that Darlow isn't up to Premier League standard, and the former Aston Villa youngster certainly deserves better considering he was touted for England just four months ago.
The Guardian reported in June that England manager Gareth Southgate was keeping tabs on Darlow for a possible call-up, though that hasn't arrived yet considering his lack of playing time with Newcastle and the competition from the likes of Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster.
Darlow must get out and play first-team football to salvage his career and his lingering England hopes, whilst he can also prove Benitez wrong by going elsewhere and proving his quality as a first-choice goalkeeper – something the Spaniard has seemingly never really been convinced by, having first signed Sels to replace him and then used Elliot ahead of him as soon as he returned from injury.
The Mirror reported back in February that Chelsea were keen on Darlow, suggesting that he could land a Premier League, but the focus has to be on playing time – and whilst it may take dropping back into the Championship, Darlow is certainly better than sitting on the Newcastle bench for the rest of the season.