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Newcastle’s failed loan approach for Sparta Prague goalkeeper Dubravka still offers some hope to fans

Rafa Benitez may have failed to secure the services of Sparta Prague’s goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on loan but the sudden announcement can still offer some hope to fans.

Adding the services of the Slovakian shotstopper, who was impressive between the posts when his national side visited Wembley earlier this season, would certainly have boosted a Magpies squad in dire need of improvement.

The 29-year-old is still in his prime years as a goalkeeper and has nine caps for his country, and looked dependable when he faced England earlier in the year – something increasingly important given the air of liability that comes with Karl Darlow.

However, and somewhat understandably, Sparta Prague are unwilling to let go of their starting goalkeeper and one of the key members of their team until the end of the season.

At least, not without significant compensation and that is something Newcastle will never cough up, especially not in a January transfer window where the cheque book seems kept under lock and key.

Yet, the approach alone can offer some hope for the Toon faithful.

For Sparta Prague to have publicly rejected the loan offer there had to have been a loan offer tabled by Newcastle.

That is uncharacteristic of a January window that in recent seasons has seen little to no offers ever actually tabled, rather just a merry-go-round of speculation.

Benitez made it clear he is targeting a goalkeeper as one of the key positions to improve his side, as well as free up Freddie Woodman to leave on loan himself and gain some much-needed, competitive first team experience.

The Spaniard has also had to contend with the fact he is halfway through the window and still appears unaware of what budget he has – it is looking more and more likely that loans are going to be critical in helping Newcastle achieve their goal of Premier League survival.

But, in the positive sense, the Dubravka rejection appeared almost out of nowhere and shows that there is certainly some work going on behind the scenes at St. James’ Park to try and strengthen the side in a way the ludicrous budget constraints allow.

It also appears that the work going on is targeting players of a good calibre, those either on par with the better players already in the side, or a direct improvement.

That alone should be encouraging that Benitez might still spring a miracle and produce some actual, good quality transfer business before the window is shut.

Concerns were certainly there when it appeared the targets Newcastle had been forced to look at were the likes of Young Boys’ Yannick Toure, a player who while promising as a striker is still just 17-years-old and, should a transfer materialise in this window, clearly a signing designed as a long-term prospect rather than to have an immediate impact.

As is the way with the January transfer window, Newcastle fans must now continue to wait and hope that Mike Ashley’s iron grip on the club’s funds don’t lead to another barren January but can at least hold some small glimmer of hope that Benitez is doing as much as he can in the circumstances.

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