Karl Darlow has been linked with a summer move to Middlesbrough as Chris Wilder’s summer rebuild gets under way. Although the transfer window doesn’t officially open until June 10, Boro have been planning their summer business for months in preparation for a busy summer.
A new goalkeeper is likely to be one of the top items on Wilder’s summer shopping list after Joe Lumley and Luke Daniels failed to impress throughout the campaign. With the Boro boss promising big changes, they’d likely listen to offers for either of their two senior shot-stoppers as they look to recruit a new number one for next season.
And one man who’s name has cropped up a few times now is Newcastle United’s Darlow after falling down the pecking order at St James’ Park. The 31-year-old could be one of many Magpies players available this summer as Eddie Howe looks to trim his own squad for a summer rebuild having successfully guided them to safety.
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And while one of the biggest hurdles in between Boro landing Darlow this summer could be convincing him to take a pay cut, they would offer the former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper the regular first-team football he craves, as well as an opportunity to stay in the North East where he has been settled with his family since 2015.
And Darlow has previously shown his interest in playing for the Boro, albeit at a time when the club were in a better financial position to match his wages at Newcastle. Back in the summer of 2017, Darlow came close to signing for Boro, only for the move to break down. It was the summer of Garry Monk’s failed recruitment drive, with Boro looking to replace Victor Valdes and Brad Guzan while having the benefit of Premier League parachute payments.
Darlow, as is the case at Newcastle now, had fallen down the pecking order. He agreed terms with Boro and was ready to make the short move from Tyneside to Teesside, only for the move to break down. Not long after, Darlow told our sister title Chronicle Live: “I was incredibly close to leaving. I hadn’t got as far as my farewells to my team-mates.
“I had met and spoken to their manager (Garry Monk) and it was all ready to go. Newcastle were waiting on signing another goalkeeper and it fell through for another reason. Thankfully it did because I am still here and playing in the team again. It’s all good for me. “
While at that time Darlow was able to force his way back into the plans at St James’ Park, it seems far less likely he will do so again. The former Championship winner has made just eight appearances this season while playing second-fiddle to Martin Dubravka, while reports have suggested that Howe will look to strengthen that position further this summer. As well as Dubravka and Darlow, the Magpies will also have Freddie Woodman returning from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
Boro are known to be monitoring numerous targets in each of the positions they wish to strengthen this summer and it’s not known at this stage if Darlow is top of their list of goalkeepers. But if they could land the 31-year-old then they’d be getting an experienced shot-stopper who, on paper at least, would be an upgrade on their current options in that position. With a big summer rebuild ahead though, Wilder has spoken numerous times of business having to be ‘smart’, with the finances of deals a big factor in that.