I'm going to be perfectly honest, when I first saw him take the field against Everton last season, I really wasn't convinced he was that great a prospect.
For most of what I saw, he looked shaky and mistake-prone. Admittedly, that may well have been inexperience coming into play.
|Joe Hart||Manchester City||25||38||375||97||17||25.87||29|
|Tim Krul||Newcastle United||24||38||535||114||15||21.31||51|
|Michel Vorm||Swansea City||28||37||547||136||14||24.87||49|
|David De Gea||Man. United||21||29||379||102||13||26.91||29|
|Ben Foster||West Brom||29||37||539||117||10||21.71||49|
|Shay Given||Aston Villa||36||32||448||98||8||21.88||45|
A = Age; SC = Starting Caps; S = Shots Faced; SM = Saves Made; CS = Clean Sheets; % = Percentage of Shots Saved; GC = Goals Conceded.
Obviously, that table was structured based on the number of clean sheets to each goalkeeper's name.
Of the 13 whose names I recorded, Krul is one of only three to have had more than 500 shots fired his way. If Mike Ashley is reading this and follows my advice, he will buy another defender in the offseason, so that number should drop along with the percentage of shots saved.
Remove Joe Hart from the equation because he's just a freak, and Krul has kept the most clean sheets despite the amount of shots sent his way. Pretty cool stuff, huh?
Aside from Szczesny and De Gea, Krul is also the youngest on that list, tied with Sunderland's Simon Mignolet (who he outperformed in most aspects, which will be to the delight of Newcastle fans).
From the statistics, he still has a way to go, but should be a franchise goalkeeper for a solid 15 to 20 more years barring injury.
The problem there is that it assumes the Dutch shot-stopper will remain a Magpie (albeit a strangely colored one). While the good news on that front is his fresh five-year contract, the bad news is circling interest from larger clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur among others.
The good news, Newcastle fans, is that Krul will be going nowhere this offseason. With his contract signed, only a sale would prise him away from the sticks at St. James' Park. Here's why:
Granted, any rumored interest in Krul from Arsenal is almost completely speculative (I haven't been able to find anything on their interest from the past few months), but I thought Arsene Wenger deserved a word on why he won't invest in the Dutchman.
First, they have a development project of their own. Wojceich Szczesny has one of the lowest save percentages from any starting keeper that hopes to play on the continent, and is still characterized by the (admittedly regressing) number of mistakes in his game.
Clearly, he is some way off being one of the league's premier shot-stoppers, but at 22 he's younger even than Krul.
Arsenal have already invested money in his development, so there is no reason why they should part with £10 million for a different long-term project.
Wenger is too smart for that.
The London-based club are generating (link via Mirror Football) the most serious transfer talk around Krul at this stage.
Before we go any further, it's worth remembering that Cech is still only 30, which makes him fairly young in goalkeeping terms. Tim Howard, Mark Schwarzer and Brad Friedel are all older than him and still performing at a high standard.
Schwarzer has a higher save percentage, Howard had a better season in terms of clean sheets, while Friedel had him covered in both.
If that wasn't enough to convince an owner to keep Cech around, his recent Champions League performances must have been.
Cech saved three penalties during the final (one of which was taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger) and blocked a Lionel Messi spot-kick at the Camp Nou.
When you think about it, it's not really as though Chelsea's most pressing need is a goalkeeper either.
A busy schedule to finish the season highlighted their lack of defenders (for me, they need to bring in someone who will be higher up in the pecking order than David Luiz and a better right back replacement than Jose Bosingwa) and the age of current stars like Frank Lampard and John Terry, both of whom should be replaced within a few years anyway.
Owner Roman Abramovich is apparently interested in hijacking the Manchester War for Eden Hazard.
In the transfer market, Chelsea have bigger fish to fry and a goalkeeper isn't an urgent enough priority for them to shell out large sums of money for Krul.
I feel for Spurs, I really do.
The way they were bundled out of Champions League contention was harsh to say the least, especially given their existing troubles at keeper, striker and centre-back.
With Friedel too old to be a long-term option, Gomes too inconsistent and Carlo Cudicini not quite good enough, Krul would make an excellent choice for the (other) Londoners.
Even if Spurs had made the Champions League, I don't think they would have landed Krul.
The reason is simple economics: with the season Krul had at Newcastle, Mike Ashley has no reason to sell him. Tottenham, however, had a very strong reason to buy him.
In a negotiation like that, it's clear where the balance of power lies. Barring an almost astronomical bid, Ashley could easily push Krul's price up (with no need to sell at all) and test Spurs' maximum price.
Given the club has other priorities, it's easy to see them looking to the continent to find a cheaper player to bring in.
Other players even have a disincentive to stay now, and they'll have a harder time keeping Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart around next season.
It's a very similar story to Chelsea: they just have too many transfer issues to play hardball for a goalkeeper.