Newcastle United have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha.
What’s the word?
Newcastle are in the race to sign Lazio’s Albanian goalkeeper, Thomas Strakosha according to reports.
Citta Celeste, a Lazio-based source, claim that Strakosha likes life in Rome, but would also like to play in the Premier League, with this being a potential boost to the Magpies who are looking to bring him in.
It will not be completely straight forward though, as Strakosha has won his starting spot back from Pepe Reina, having started every league match since early December.
With that, Lazio’s sporting director Igli Tare and their president Claudio Lotito want to keep the £34k-per-week shot-stopper.
However, in what is an internal power struggle within the Serie A side, Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri would prefer to let Strakosha go and bring in Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga as his replacement.
Thomas Strakosha, the keeper who “has everything” according to Belgian shot-stopper Silvio Proto does have a condition that would need to be met though.
He would not accept being the twelfth man and would need to be entrusted between the sticks ahead of current Magpies number one, Martin Dubravka.
And, considering his impressive form since reclaiming his spot as Sarri’s number one, there is an argument to be made that the 27-year-old would be an upgrade on the Slovakia international.
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Indeed, over his 11 outings in all competitions over the months of February, March and April, the £6.3m-rated shot-stopper has averaged a SofaScore match rating of 7.00 – form which much betters that of Dubravka’s, with the 33-year-old averaging a SofaScore match rating of 6.63 over his 10 outings in the same period.
Furthermore, with Strakosha’s contract at the Stadio Olimpico set to expire at the end of the season, the player who was valued at a whopping £22.5m as recently as August 2020 could prove to be a very tidy pick-up for Newcastle on a free transfer – who would be able to tempt the Albanian over to the Premier League with handsome wages.
However, the Tyneside outfit’s biggest threat to sealing this deal is the interest from Serie A side Torino, as well as Lazio’s potential desire to keep the 6ft1 Albanian – who Proto also dubbed an “explosive” talent.
Either way, Newcastle simply must use Lazio’s indecisiveness to their advantage, as Strakosha very much appears to be a signing that would greatly improve Howe’s first-team squad this summer.