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Newcastle United said to be looking at young La Liga keeper

Published: Updated: 14:07, 14 Dec 2023
The Magpies have struggling since losing England stopper Nick Pope to long-term injury

Newcastle United are reportedly setting their sights on a young goalkeeper from La Liga, as the club seek to bolster their squad following a disappointing midweek exit from the UEFA Champions League. The Magpies' European journey ended prematurely after a narrow 2-1 defeat to AC Milan left them at the bottom of their group.

Eddie Howe's team have been hampered by a growing number of injuries to their squad, which is believed by many to have contributed significantly to their failure to proceed in Europe.

Despite returning to Champions League football for the first time in decades with a baptism of fire, in the 'Group of Death' alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan, Newcastle more than held their own. They were especially bright at the start of the campaign. Their exit is largely explained by their overflowing treatment room.

With this setback behind them, attention now shifts back to the Premier League and domestic cup competitions as manager Eddie Howe and his team aim for another shot at qualifying for Europe's elite competition.

Goalkeeper a major area of concern for Eddie Howe

One key issue that has been identified, among Newcastle's laundry list of injury issues, is between the sticks. The loss of first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope, who sustained a shoulder injury during his team’s 1-0 win over Manchester United earlier this month, has been crippling. This is something which Howe is reportedly looking to rectify in next month's January transfer window.

Without Pope in goal, Newcastle have lost all three games with second-choice Martin Dubravka in his place, conceding nine goals across those matches.

This situation has sparked speculation about potential moves for new goalkeepers who could help steer Eddie Howe's team towards Champions League qualification once again.

Young La Liga star could come to Howe's rescue

Among those being considered is Valencia's highly-rated young goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili. The 23-year-old Georgian international started his career at FC Dinamo Tbilisi, before signing with Valencia in the summer of 2021, where he quickly established himself as first-choice keeper.

Standing tall at 6'6, Mamardashvili is known for commanding his penalty area effectively and collecting crosses with aplomb. His impressive form at both club and international level has made him a target for several teams, including Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Newcastle's interest in Mamardashvili signals their intent to strengthen their squad and improve their chances of securing a place in the new expanded Champions League next season. However, with other top clubs also reportedly interested in the young shot-stopper, it remains to be seen where Mamardashvili will end up when the transfer window closes.

There are sure to be a lot of clubs coming in for Mamardashvili as he prepares to see his nation Georgia safely through a qualification playoff against Luxembourg, and into the UEFA Euro 2024 group stage. Alongside Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the Valencia goalkeeper is one of his country's most crucial players.

Watch this space to see if Newcastle end up getting their man in January.

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