Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has expressed his desire to keep Karl Darlow at the club this summer, amidst reports that the club are in the market for another shot stopper.
Speaking to the Chronicle, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss declared his intention to keep the 26-year-old at St James Park beyond this summer despite interest from Middlesbrough.
After making 34 appearances in the Championship last season, helping Newcastle to the title in the process, talk of Darlow's departure will come as a surprise to many associated with the Tyne-side club. Benitez is reportedly after the services of another keeper, with West Ham's Adrian and Darren Randolph being mentioned repeatedly.
Despite uncertainty surrounding his future, Darlow was part of Newcastle's recent pre-season trip to Ireland and appeared as a second half substitute in their 1-1 draw against Preston. His future at the club was thrust into further doubt, however, as he was replaced by Freddie Woodman after only 26 minutes of action between the sticks.
When asked for his thinking behind this decision, Benitez said: “We have three keepers and we had to give them some time so we couldn’t leave one person on the bench because after one week I think they all needed to play."
Newcastle are reportedly prepared to accept offers in the region of £8m for Darlow, in which they would be looking to reinvest in the squad after a lacklustre summer transfer window.
The Magpies have already added Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu and Florian Lejeune to their squad and will be looking for more depth as they prepare to return to the Premier League.