Newcastle complete permanent deal for star loanee goalkeeper

Oli Fisher

Newcastle have completed the permanent signing of goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from Sparta Prague.

The Slovakia international, who made 12 Premier League appearances for the Magpies during a loan spell last season, has signed a four-year contract at St James’ Park after Newcastle activated an option to buy him.

Manager Rafael Benitez told the club’s website: “Ever since he arrived with us on loan he has shown a fantastic attitude and great work ethic, and of course we have been very impressed with his performances for us on the pitch last season.

“This was one of the key positions we had identified we needed to strengthen and had been concerned about, so it is excellent news that we are able now to sign him on a permanent basis.”

Dubravka, capped 10 times by Slovakia, joined Newcastle on loan in January and Benitez gave credit to the club’s board.

“The loan deal with an option to buy was the perfect deal for the club,” he said.

“It is credit to Lee Charnley and also Steve Nickson for putting that in place because it gave me and my staff the opportunity to look at him and work with him and see how he would perform for us before committing to signing him permanently.

“It has been very good business for the club and we now say congratulations to Martin and look forward to having him with us for the long term at Newcastle United.”

Speculation has persisted about Benitez’s own future at Newcastle given his frustration over a lack of investment in the squad, and the Spaniard will hope this is just the start of a busy summer at St James’ Park.