Nothing better than when a Newcastle United star really connects with the people.
Allan Saint-Maximin the stand out example on Tyneside these past couple of years.
However, it is another 24 year old Newcastle United star of the future who has declared: ‘I have never been somewhere before where the club is so connected to the fans.’
Freddie Woodman is actually eight days older than Allan Saint-Maximin but whilst the French winger has been a permanent fixture (when fit) of the Newcastle team these last two years, the NUFC keeper hasn’t played a single minute in the Premier League.
Instead, these past two seasons have seen Freddie Woodman play 90 Championship matches for Swansea City and the goalkeeper hopes his 91st second tier game will be the last he ever plays.
Freddie Woodman is destined for the top and it is just a case of which club he does it at.
Winner of the Championship Golden Glove award after 20 clean sheets in 45 regular season games in 2020/21, Freddie Woodman and his teammates now face Ivan Toney and Brentford at 3pm on Saturday for arguably the biggest prize of all.
If Freddie Woodman and the Swans clinch that prize of a place in the Premier League, I think it is difficult to imagine the keeper being anywhere else other than Swansea City next season.
If successful on Saturday, the first task for the Swansea owners will surely be to try and tie down the Newcastle loan star, preferably to a permanent deal, or failing that, a third year on loan.
It is one of those strange peculiarities to his position that explains why Freddie Woodman hasn’t already played any number of PL games for Newcastle and is pretty much a sure thing not to be involved with Newcastle United next season.
Only one place in a team for a goalkeeper and with Martin Dubravka undoubtedly number one, it isn’t a case of where like outfield players, you can always improvise and find a place somewhere in the team on a regular / irregular basis for such a promising young player.
Freddie Woodman has clearly fallen in love with Swansea City, the fans and the area, and assuming they go up, I can see Mike Ashley banking £15m or so for the 24 year old with a clause giving more cash in the future if moving elsewhere for more.
If Swansea City don’t go up, then I think there is a problem all round.
In that scenario, all things being equal, Newcastle United can’t offer him a first team place. Swansea City can’t offer him Premier League football…and for an ambitious keeper who turns 25 during next season, playing second fiddle at NUFC or playing second tier football once again at Swansea, just doesn’t cut it, in my opinion.
There has been talk of the likes of Arsenal being interested in Freddie Woodman this summer but I find it very difficult to see them putting the Newcastle keeper straight into their Premier League team.
If Swansea don’t go up, I see Newcastle United putting the big decision off for one more season, with Freddie Woodman hopefully playing Premier League football, either on loan or on a permanent deal, at a club lower down the Premier League pecking order.
Absolutely typical that Newcastle United are weak in so many other areas and yet Freddie Woodman can’t be part of the answer.
Unless of course that answer is Arsenal having real strong interest in the Newcastle United goalkeeper and fancy swapping him for Joe Willock…?
Freddie Woodman talking to the official Swansea City site:
“I came to this club two years ago with the aim of getting promoted, and now we have an opportunity to do that,” he added.
“We are buzzing but there is still one more game to go.
“It is not about what it means to me, it is about what it means to the people at the club and in the city.
“I have never been somewhere before where the club is so connected to the fans.
“I go for a coffee in Mumbles and four or five people will come to talk to me and pass on best wishes.
“I might be doing my shopping and I end up speaking to everyone and I absolutely love it.
“It’s brilliant, it was so emotional to have fans back against Barnsley and I cannot wait for them to get down that M4 to Wembley.”
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