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Newcastle United have announced the departure of Nathan Harker on their official website, opening the door for the Magpies goalkeeper to join local rivals Sunderland for free.

Then again, this decision will not take Harker by surprise.

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The 21-year-old appears to have been preparing for life away from St James Park since the turn of the year and there is a very real chance that he could soon join an exclusive club of players who have swapped the banks of the Tyne for the Wear.

Harker spent time on trial at Sunderland earlier this year and, now that he is a free agent, there is nothing stopping him from following in the footsteps of DeAndre Yedlin, Steve Harper, Michael Chopra and more.

According to the Echo this week, the former Blyth Spartans loanee could be handed a permanent contract at the Stadium of Light in July.

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“Nathan came to us and we were pleased with how he did,” said U23 coach Elliot Dickman, speaking to the Echo. “We can’t do anything now, but we’ll look at it again at the end of the season.”

A statement on Newcastle’s website on Thursday has now confirmed that Harker’s time in black and white is coming to an end, with Jamie Sterry, Rob Elliot and ex-Black Cats starlet Jack Colback also heading for the exit.

Considering that Sunderland have just lost Jon McLaughlin to Rangers, there is certainly space in Phil Parkinson’s squad for a new goalkeeper.

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