‘It was a no’: Agent admits Prem veteran turned down Newcastle move


Richard Lee has opened up on discussions that could take his former Watford team-mate Ben Foster back to the Premier League with Newcastle United, he has spoken to The Athletic.

Last week, the former England goalkeeper admitted he could have extended his long playing career with the Magpies before hanging up his gloves instead.

Foster, who announced his retirement in September, held talks with Newcastle following the injury to Eddie Howe midfielder Karl Darlow.

Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

However, that was before the Tynesiders instead turned to Loris Karius – a man ten years Foster’s junior – tying down the former Liverpool gloveman on a short-term deal that expires at the end of January.

Newcastle United have held talks with Ben Foster

“I found out he (Foster) was on their standby list in case something went wrong,” explains Lee, who played alongside the 39-year-old at Vicarage Road and now works as an agent specializing in goalkeepers.

“I asked if he was going to be at Newcastle and his response was; ‘Yes, that sounds very interesting.’

“(Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth) was in a meeting with the manager (Howe) and discussed the situation. And he said he would call me back. He also called Ben, who he knew from (their time together at) West Brom.

Foster, Lee says, cooled off as negotiations progressed. According to The Athletic, the former Manchester United youngster ultimately turned down offers from both Newcastle and MLS side Atlanta United due to family reasons.

Newcastle signed ex-Liverpool player Loris Karius instead

“I got a call (from Foster) to say; “Rich, I’m not sure. We had a few more calls and shared a few messages where it sounded like he was getting close to it. But then I got the last call and that’s when I knew it was a no,” adds Lee.

“He asked for the character, he almost didn’t want them to get there. And the moment they accepted it, it was clear in his mind that he was done.

“Naturally there is disappointment because he would be perfect for the role. It may sound silly, but I imagined myself on that journey to Newcastle; knowing that you have made a significant trade for the player.

“These are your magical moments. So it was a sense of deflation after an exciting, adrenaline-pumping day.’

Darlow is likely to be out until the New Year with an ankle injury. November’s EFL Cup clash with Crystal Palace could offer Kario an opportunity to kick-start his career on English soil.

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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