‘If it was concrete’ - Newcastle veteran with 163 appearances breaks silence on Celtic exit rumours

Martin Dubravka has been linked with a move away from Newcastle this summer.Martin Dubravka has been linked with a move away from Newcastle this summer.
Martin Dubravka has been linked with a move away from Newcastle this summer. | Getty Images
Martin Dubravka is one of the players that is expected to leave Newcastle this summer

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has responded to speculation linking him with a move away from St James’ Park this summer.

The 35-year-old shot-stopper made 30 appearances for the Magpies last season, but is expected to drop down the pecking order following the return of first choice goalkeeper Nick Pope from injury and the potential arrival of Burnley youngster James Trafford.

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Recent reports from the Northern Echo claims that Scottish champions Celtic are one of the frontrunners to sign the experienced goalkeeper as they search for a replacement for newly-retired Joe Hart.

Dubravka, who is currently on international duty with Slovakia ahead of Euro 2024, was quizzed about a potential move to Parkhead in a press conference ahead of his side’s huge opening test against Denmark. The 43-time international admits that he is aware of the recent links to Celtic but claims he has no concrete talks with the club.

He said: "I am aware that there are rumours, teammates ask me about it, agents and people call me, if there is any truth to it. There was some truth in that a year ago and you see, I stayed at Newcastle, so I still take it as if there is no official offer on the table, then I absolutely do not deal.

"I told my agents that if it was concrete and there was an offer, then only then would I consider it. At the moment, it is only in the stage of some noises."

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Dubraka has just one-year remaining on his Newcastle deal and is expected to leave this summer after making 163 appearances in all competitions in the North East. His agent, David Zika, has already stated his client is in no rush to make a decision - stating in January that the view could be changed on his future if he wins Euro 2024. 

He told Sport.sk: “Martin [Dubravka] is satisfied that he has the necessary minutes, but the truth is also that if Nick Pope comes back, United will have two quality goalkeepers and only one can play.

“I dare say that he will finish this season in Newcastle. I personally think, and we talked about it with him, that now he has excellent timing for everything. He’s playing, he’s getting better and better in every game, then the European Championships will come and he’ll only have a year left on his contract."

Dubravka was signed from Sparta Prague in January 2018 on a loan deal with an option to buy for £4.5m. He made his debut in a vital 1-0 win against Manchester United and was a catalyst for his side’s upturn in fortunes as they beat the drop. After a very successful loan spell, he signed permanently for Newcastle on 30 May 2018 and remained the team’s first choice goalkeeper when match fit.

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However, following the arrival of Pope in the summer of 2022, Dubravka left to join Manchester United on a loan deal in the hope of being the club’s European goalkeeper when David de Gea was rotated. This never materialised and after six months his loan move was terminated though he was still unable to represent Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final due to being cup tied.

Dubravka operated as Pope’s deputy for the next 10 months but was pushed back into the team when the England international sustained a serious shoulder injury. 

The Slovakian star has been in mixed form since making his return and has struggled to match the level many feel he was hitting before Pope’s initial arrival. 

His experience, however, makes him an appealing player for Celtic after Hart’s retirement, but it is also though that they are considering Liverpool youngster Caoimhin Kelleher as well.

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