A January window to forget for Newcastle could be about to take another turn for the worse following the news that AC Milan are preparing a bid to snatch goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The Rossoneri are reportedly readying a £10m bid for the Dutch stopper, though the Toon are said to value their number one closer to double that amount.
If Krul were to leave the club, he would become the second first team star out of the exit door in this transfer window following Demba Ba’s switch to Chelsea, while talks are pending regarding the future of homesick skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
If, as anticipated, the Argentine bids farewell to Tyneside and Krul were to follow him Newcastle would find the levels of quality in their squad seriously depleted. With time to draft in reinforcements running out, this will have huge implications on their bid to beat the drop.
With this in mind, should Krul wish to cease the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in world football, Alan Pardew is thought to have already sounded out a replacement in Birmingham’s England under-21 star Jack Butland.
With the cash-strapped Midlands club in dire fiscal straits, a bid of around £6m will probably be enough to secure the services of the man tipped to be a future England number one. So, should they manage to squeeze Milan for a few more millions in the Krul deal, they could pull off a decent bit of business by snapping up highly-rated Butland.
Such a deal would obviously appeal to the business-savvy Toon board, yet whether Butland himself is ready to make the step up from Championship keeper to Premier League number one so soon remains to be seen.
Were he playing for a team with safety all but assured, say West Brom, for example, pressure wouldn’t come into it, yet in a team scrapping for every point as the Magpies are, his every mistake will be magnified and, as an inexperienced goalkeeper, he is certain to make a few.
Relegation will be a far bigger financial blow than missing out on making a nice profit on Krul’s sale and, with the club 11/2 to go down this season, they would stand a far better chance of beating the drop with a proven keeper of the Dutchman’s stature in the net, while Butland’s development would be better served elsewhere.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date