The obvious Newcastle transfer answer after Nick Pope injury - it's not David de Gea or Aaron Ramsdale

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Newcastle United's solution to replacing Nick Pope is already clear amid links to former Manchester United and current Arsenal goalkeepers

Eddie Howe would have every right to bemoan his misfortune after Newcastle United's injury curse took a wicked new turn on Saturday night. The Magpies manager and his side have performed admirably without a whole host of key players after the likes of Dutch defender Sven Botman, England striker Callum Wilson and summer signing Harvey Barnes have spent long spells on the sidelines throughout the first three months of the season.

Despite a list of absentees that regularly sits in double figures, Newcastle are sat within striking distance of the top four in the Premier League and will hope to secure progress in both the Champions League and Carabao Cup over the next three weeks. There is also the small matter of a Wear-Tyne derby clash with Sunderland after the two arch rivals were paired in the FA Cup third round draw.

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There should be a feeling of concern and frustration enveloping Tyneside as a whole host of Howe's players become well-versed at life in the treatment room rather than finalising preparations in the changing room as the Magpies aim for success on a number of fronts.

And another big name is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after goalkeeper Nick Pope suffered a dislocated shoulder in the closing stages of Saturday's impressive 1-0 win against an admittedly well below-par Manchester United side. The England stopper squirmed in pain as the realisation set in that he had suffered a serious injury and looked in severe discomfort as he made his way towards the sidelines.

Pope is reportedly set to undergo surgery on the injury over the coming days and will miss the majority of the remainder of the season as his recovery and rehabilitation is expected to last anywhere between four and six months.

So where do Newcastle now turn? Within hours of Pope's unfortunate incident, the Magpies were linked with a shock move for former Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, who would no doubt bring plenty of big-game experience from his 12-month stay at Old Trafford. The Spain international remains a free agent, which would be a positive for the Magpies as they continue to battle with financial fair play regulations - although De Gea would have to accept a severe drop in his reported £375,000-a-week wages he was earning in the final years of his time on the red half of Manchester.

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Another link rose hours later when England stopper Aaron Ramsdale was suggested as a possible Newcastle target as he continues to endure a frustrating time at Arsenal. Playing second fiddle to David Raya is hardly going to help Ramsdale in his bid to secure a place in England's Euro 2024 Finals squad, despite Pope's injury increasing his chances of making the plane.

Firstly, it is important to state that any move to replace Pope would have to wait until the start of the January transfer window. So there is unlikely to be any definite moves for the time being - but if something were to happen, contact with agents and representatives, even of a tentative nature, is likely to have already taken place.

But do Newcastle actually need to replace Pope? Unlike in midfield, where Sandro Tonali's lengthy ban and injuries to Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock have forced Eddie Howe to accelerate the highly talented Lewis Miley's introduction into senior football, the Magpies are surprisingly well-stocked when it comes to goalkeepers.

The man who replaced Pope in the aftermath of his injury can boast 130 Premier League appearances and 41 international caps to his name. He has played in the Champions League and Europa League earlier in his career, as well as representing his country at Euro 2020 and in World Cup qualifiers.

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Without question, the signing of Nick Pope has been a major success for Newcastle and he has played an integral role in helping the Magpies progress from relegation certainties to genuine contenders at the top end of the Premier League. But the man he replaced as Magpies number one should not be overlooked when it comes to replacing Pope throughout the remainder of the season. Prior to the arrival of the Burnley goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka was a trusted stopper after establishing himself under the man who signed him, Rafa Benitez and his successor, Steve Bruce.

That trust seemed to have extended to Eddie Howe when he took charge at St James Park in November 2021 and Dubravka remained in situ for the remainder of that season before Pope was signed. The Slovakian international actually boasts an impressive record for the Magpies, keeping clean sheets in 40 of his 135 appearances, which equates to an average of one shut-out in every 3.3 games. He may well have wasted a portion of his career during an underwhelming loan spell at Manchester United - but Howe has always spoken warmly of the experienced stopper.

In the aftermath of his return from Old Trafford, he said: “Martin’s situation is that he wanted to come back, and we were delighted to welcome him back. There was never an issue between me and Martin. He’s a top goalkeeper, and I’m delighted to welcome him back to the squad."

He may have arrived as a relative unknown but Dubravka is more than capable of standing in for Pope for the remainder of the season. He will also have a capable backup with former Liverpool and Besiktas stopper Loris Karius currently number three at St James Park and experienced keeper Mark Gillespie also with the Magpies ranks.

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It is understandable why Newcastle would consider a move for David De Gea or Aaron Ramsdale - but there should be no concern among the Gallowgate faithful if the Magpies hierarchy opt to go with what they have throughout the remainder of the season.

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