Newcastle United are reportedly interested in signing Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and are lining up a pre-contract agreement in January.

According to The Sun, Newcastle United are allegedly keen on signing Albanian shot-stopper Thomas Strakosha after sending scouts to watch the player in action during Lazio’s UEFA Europa League fixture against Marseille last midweek.

With Newcastle being linked with high-profile mega-money moves for Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Dean Henderson in recent weeks, it seems like that the new owners have identified the goalkeeping department as one of many areas to strengthen on the pitch. And Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha appears to be another name on their shortlist.

Strakosha spent his youth years at the Greek academy Panionios, from where he was picked up by Lazio. After impressing on a brief loan spell at a relegation-threatened Salernitana, Strakosha finally cemented his spot between the sticks at Stadio Olimpico in the 2017/18 campaign and has gone from strength to strength since then.

To date, the 26-year-old has made 181 appearances for the Biancocelesti, conceding 214 goals and preserving 53 clean sheets in the process. Regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in Serie A in recent years, his solid performances have garnered regular interest from top Premier League clubs, but despite intense media speculation, a move to the English top-flight never materialized.

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However, following a string of poor displays, injury and Covid problems, he fell down the pecking order and lost his first-choice status. The Athens-born star was only involved in 11 games in all competitions for the Rome-based outfit last term, and things are not any better this season, with him having to play second-fiddle to veteran Pepe Reina in the league while Strakosha occasionally gets the playing time in Europa League and cup competitions.

The Albanian international’s contract with Le Aquile is expiring at the end of the season, which means the Roman giants will have to consider selling him in January or else risk losing him on a free at the end of the season. The report adds that Newcastle hope to take advantage of Strakosha’s situation by signing him to a pre-contract agreement or launching a cheeky January bid to tempt Lazio to try and force a deal.

Newcastle have four senior goalkeepers at their disposal in Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow, Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie. Dubravka is an established Premier League keeper and has proved his mettle since signing for the Toon in 2018, but his recurring injuries have become a growing concern in the last couple of campaigns.

Darlow deputizes as No. 2 and is a decent shot-stopper but has been inconsistent and his poor distribution leaves a lot to be desired, while Woodman looks promising but is still young and needs another Championship loan spell.

So, if Newcastle move on one or two goalkeepers from their current roster, then perhaps signing a quality option in Thomas Strakosha makes sense. But realistically, there are other priority positions across the board that need to be reinforced first such as defence or creative midfield. Only time will tell whether Newcastle step up their pursuit for Strakosha this January or focus on other areas of the squad.

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