David Freezer: It's Krul to be kind for Remi but the gloves could still be up for grabs at City
PUBLISHED: 06:45 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 24 July 2018
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The battle to become Norwich City's new number one is set to be blown wide open.
The battle to become Norwich City’s new number one is set to be blown wide open.
It’s a situation which has prompted plenty of debate among Canaries supporters during pre-season, as Remi Matthews and Michael McGovern have both been given chances to impress.
The duo are vying to prove they are capable of filling the gloves vacated by Manchester City loanee Angus Gunn, who was a Championship ever-present for the Canaries last season.
City head coach Daniel Farke passed up opportunities to back Matthews or McGovern as his number one when quizzed about his keeper options though, suggesting that a new option could still be brought in.
So it came as little surprise to see former Newcastle keeper Tim Krul being linked with an imminent free transfer yesterday, news which was widely welcomed among City fans.
The 30-year-old Netherlands international spent last season at Brighton but only featured as a substitute in the Premier League, with all five of his appearances coming in cup competitions.
Krul made 184 appearances for Newcastle between 2009 and 2015, making his debut as an 18-year-old, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 Uefa Cup win at Palermo.
After loan spells at Falkirk and Carlisle the Dutchman went on 10 play over 150 Premier League games for the Magpies, including finishing fifth in 2011/12 under Alan Pardew and reaching the Europa League quarter-finals the following year.
He made global headlines in 2014 when brought on just before a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup quarter-finals against Costa Rica, vindicating Louis Van Gaal’s faith with two saves to seal victory. However, it was during international action that Krul’s career was thrown off course, rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during a 2-1 win in Kazakhstan during European Championship qualifying in October 2015.
By the time he was fit again Newcastle had been relegated to the Championship and a loan to Ajax was arranged. The big keeper wasn’t able to play as he struggled to find fitness but did return to action with another Dutch club, AZ Alkmaar, during the latter stages of 2016-17.
After returning to the north-east last summer Krul found himself surplus to requirements at St James’ Park under Rafa Benitez and a loan to fellow Premier League side Brighton was secured on deadline day, which was soon made permanent.
Having only turned 30 in April, the shot-stopper has left the Seagulls at the end of that one-year contract and reports emerged that Krul was due to have a Canaries medical as he looks to get his career back on track, with speculation in Turkey also linking him with Besiktas.
His arrival at Carrow Road would resemble something of a coup, if he can regain his previous form, with the added boost for City that he would count as one of the seven required homegrown players in a matchday squad as he was with Newcastle for over three years before he turned 21.
During the pre-season games played so far academy product Matthews, 24, and Northern Ireland international McGovern, 34, have shared the minutes between the posts.
Matthews played all of a 2-1 defeat to Union Berlin in Germany last Tuesday – in which he was partly at fault for one of the goals – and McGovern played all of Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
It appears neither are yet to convince Farke but further opportunities await this week with a game at Luton tomorrow night and fellow League One side Charlton on Saturday.
Gorleston-born Matthews spent much of last season in the third tier with Plymouth, keeping 10 cleans sheets in 27 games and proving popular with Argyle fans, building on previous loan experience at Hamilton, Doncaster and Burton.
McGovern was signed on a free in 2016 by former manager Alex Neil and played just once last season, in the League Cup.
Both are in the final year of their contracts, although there is an option for a further 12 months in Matthews’ deal, but if Krul is to arrive it seems likely one will have to leave. However, even if Krul is signed in the next few days, it seems unlikely he will be ready to play in City’s opening game at Birmingham on August 4 – so the gloves could still be up for grabs yet.
• Watch Krul’s World Cup heroics in the video above
Who should be City’s number one this season?
Remi Matthews – 23pc
Michael McGovern – 3pc
Need more time to assess – 10pc
New signing is needed – 64pc
(Over 2,800 voters, correct at the time of writing)