The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Magpies need to “sort out” their defensive record as they continue to struggle in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Last season, Dubravka prevented 1.4 more goals than he was expected to over 13 Premier League starts, as per his post-shot expected goals figure (FBref).
Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman have been rotated in the Slovakian’s absence this term. The pair have shipped 5.8 more goals than expected by the same metric (FBref).
Only Norwich (25) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (23) in the league this season.
2018 signing Dubravka missed the start of this season with a foot injury, as per Transfermarkt.
Whelan insisted Newcastle have to “strengthen and improve” their faltering backline ahead of potential investment in January.
“He could come in and give them a lift, possibly,” he told Football Insider.
“Their defensive record has let them down for 18 months
now. They should be pausing any efforts to bring in attackers and focus on
their defensive line.
“The stats don’t lie – they’ve got one of the worst defensive
records in the Premier League, and that is where they have to strengthen and
“They’re having to score two or three to win football
matches, and that is going to be very costly as the season progresses.
“They need to sort it out, ASAP.”
Dubravka has made 103 appearances for Newcastle, keeping 29 clean sheets.
The Magpies remain marooned in the Premier League’s bottom three and are six points from safety after 10 games.