Karl Darlow’s breakout campaign for Newcastle has turned sour a bit over the past few months. The 30-year-old started 25 league matches before Steve Bruce dropped him for Martin Dubravka, who had missed the first four months of the season with a heel injury, in February.
Bruce later revealed that was one of the toughest decisions Bruce has had to make as the Newcastle’s head coach. Darlow’s heroics in the early part of the season helped Newcastle to some crucial points in otherwise lacking team performances.
However, in the midst of a long winless run, Bruce made the tough decision to bring Dubravka back as his number one. While it was extremely harsh on Darlow, it was probably the right call to make.
It does, however, leave Darlow’s Newcastle future in serious doubt. Despite signing a new long-term deal to 2025 in October, Karl will want first-team football as he’s in the prime of his career.
He may not be willing to play second fiddle to Dubravka for yet another season on Tyneside, especially with the soaring development of Freddie Woodman on loan at Swansea.
The Shields Gazette has cited a report in the paper version of the Sunday Mirror that Watford are lining up a £6m bid for Darlow this summer. They see Karl as the long-term replacement for Ben Foster, who turned 38 a few weeks ago.
Watford look well on their way to joining Norwich in bouncing straight back up to the Premier League after being relegated last season. The Hornets are in 2nd with a six-point edge over Swansea with just 4 matches left to play.
While Darlow has been an amazing servant to Newcastle, a move for first-team football to Vicarage Road could be best for both Newcastle and Karl. It will hand Newcastle some much-needed transfer funds this summer while Darlow will get a chance at the first-team Premier League football he deserves.