Arsenal to rival Southampton for transfer of goalkeeper Freddie Woodman after magnificent Championship season
According to Chronicle Live, Arsenal are set to rival Southampton for the summer transfer of Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.
The Gunners and Saints have eyes on Woodman’s situation at St. James’ Park after he produced a magnificent second season on loan with Swansea City, where he has helped Steve Cooper’s side to clinch a spot in the Championship play-off final.
Woodman has played an instrumental role in the Jacks’ efforts this term with the 24-year-old starting all but one of their regular-season fixtures and keeping a vital clean sheet in their first-leg victory over Barnsley on Monday night.
Newcastle now recognise they have a decision to make over Woodman’s future ahead of his return to the club this summer, as the London-born shot-stopper will not settle for the number two or three role behind Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow.
The Toon want to keep hold of Woodman which would prove a key hurdle for any interested side, but the goalkeeper is focused on being the first-choice option at whichever club he plays for next term, so could be sent back out on loan again.
Woodman signed a new contract at St. James’ Park back in August before re-joining Swansea for a second season, keeping the former England U21 international tied to the club through to 2023 with the option for a further 12-month extension.
Arsenal have previously been linked with Woodman, with football.london citing the Toon product as a potential target back in January having tracked the goalkeeper from the end of last season as he fits the desired profile of head coach Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal considered Woodman in January as they searched for Alex Runarsson’s replacement and are expected to make the goalkeeper available for a summer transfer, but may not need a new number two with talks to sign Mat Ryan permanently from Brighton planned.
It would also be unlikely that Woodman would accept a back-up role to Bernd Leno if he’s not open to a seat on the Newcastle bench, to leave Southampton with a potential advantage in any pursuit of the Championship’s Golden Glove award winner.
Any side who has Woodman on their books next season is certain to have a top-draw goalkeeper, with the 24-year-old shining in the second-tier this term with 20 clean sheets in 45 regular season appearances including against Norwich, Bournemouth and Barnsley.