‘It’s a bargain’ - Burnley expert shares Nick Pope insight that Newcastle United fans will love

Chris Boden, sports editor at the Burnley Express, has witnessed every step of Nick Pope’s Burnley career. Here, he chats to NewcastleWorld about Newcastle United’s newest signing.

Newcastle United are preparing to announce Nick Pope as their third summer signing - joining Matt Targett and Alex Murphy at St James’ Park.

The England goalkeeper has undergone his medical and agreed personal terms - believed to be a four-year-deal - on Tyneside today.

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Pope leaves Burnley having made over 150 appearances in six years to rival Martin Dubravka for the No.1 spot.

NewcastleWorld caught up with long-serving Burnley reporter Chris Boden to get the inside track on Pope - and it’s fair to say his verdict will please Newcastle fans.

How do you sum up Nick Pope’s six years at Burnley?

“He and the club enjoyed a remarkable ride, he arrived for £1m in 2016 from Charlton, who were relegated to League 1, having played against the Clarets, who sealed the Championship title with a 3-0 win at the Valley.

“Middlesbrough fans mocked Burnley on social media, as they brought in Victor Valdes, but the Clarets had the last laugh!

“Pope knew he would be second choice to Tom Heaton, but developed under him and then Paul Robinson, before taking his chance when Heaton dislocated his shoulder in September 2017.

“Burnley ended the season seventh and in the Europa League, and Pope went to Russia with England…

“He had a setback of a dislocated shoulder at Aberdeen in the Europa League, but signed a new deal in the summer of 2019 and became outright number one with Heaton sold to Aston Villa.”

Is it a surprise to see Nick Pope join Newcastle? Might he have been expected to go elsewhere?

“Not at all, it’s clear Newcastle are on the rise, and Eddie Howe is doing some sensible squad surgery.

“When you look at the big six, I think they are happy with what they have, in the main, and Newcastle is a great move for him.”

The reported fee is between £8m-£10m, perhaps a little higher. If so, are Newcastle getting a bargain?

“Even if it’s as much as £12m, which has been suggested, it’s a bargain. He’s in the prime of his career, and could play on for years yet.

“He had another year on his contract at Burnley, which contributed to the size of the fee, and that Burnley wouldn’t stand in his way after relegation.

“In terms of market value, I think it’s a steal, but after six years service for a £1m signing, not bad profit - albeit with Charlton due a portion.”

How do you rate Nick Pope compared to other top-flight goalkeepers, including Martin Dubravka?

“I genuinely believe Pope is up there with anyone in the top flight. He may not be the modern sweeper keeper, like an Ederson or Alisson, but in terms of keeping the ball out of the net, I don’t think there’s many better.

“Just look at the footage of the game at Villa at the end of the season, where he was just sensational…

“Goalkeeper is the name of the game, and he keeps goal wonderfully well, the best in the business at taking pressure off a defence and coming to claim crosses and high balls, and his shot stopping is superb.”

There are suggestions that Nick Pope’s distribution isn’t the best. Is that a myth or is it a big area of improvement?

“That’s fair to say, he did give you kittens at times with his kicking, but, he never make a slip with his kicking which contributed to a goal.

“And his distribution is improving - you can see the work England have done with him, and in the last eight games of last season under interim boss Mike Jackson, he was better with the way he rolled and played the ball out from the back, with less emphasis on getting it forward quickly.”