After two 1-0 defeats over the past week, it has been made abundantly clear that we are lacking firepower up top and The Chronicle have released a list of five strikers Rafa Benitez could look to sign in the January window.
Here is the list of forwards and their comments on each, followed by our verdict – assessing the said striker and the likelihood of them signing at St James’ Park this winter:
‘Newcastle have watched him on several occasions and as he continues to bang in the goals for both Besiktas and Turkey his stock will continue to rise.
‘He’s got nine goals so far this season which adds to his tally of 24 goals from last year. Those in charge at Besiktas are holding out for a big price before cashing in on the 26-year-old and at a reported asking price of more than £20 million, it would certainly be a gamble by Benitez.’
Our verdict – He seems like Besiktas’ star man and given they look like progressing to the knockout stage of the Champions League, I doubt they’d let their top goalscorer leave on the cheap. You never know, but I only see this one happening if we were taken over and threw good money at him and Besiktas.
‘Was one of Leicester City’s big money signings after winning the Premier League and it hasn’t quite worked for the Algerian – but that’s not to say he can’t cut it in the top flight.
‘He hit seven goals in 28 appearances despite spending most of his time third or fourth choice and this season he’s also found opportunities limited but has scored three goals in two league cup outings. He was linked to United in the summer but the Magpies were reportedly told that Leicester wanted to reclaim somewhere near to the £28 million they paid for him back in August 2016.’
Our verdict – He may be low down the pecking order at Leicester, but this one only looks possible if they are prepared to accept considerably less than they paid for him 18 months ago (£28m) – especially given he turns 30 next year. He’s the sort of target man Rafa may look at to give him a focal point up top, but I don’t see this happening.
‘The Liverpool striker has had a torrid time with injuries but is slowly working his way back to full fitness and scored four in an U23 game earlier this week. Jurgen Klopp has plenty of options up front and while he appears keen not to lose Ings permanently, a loan spell for the former Burnley man looks likely this January.‘
Our verdict – Think this one is quite likely. He’s returned from injury and needs games, but doesn’t look like getting that at Liverpool, meaning a January loan move seems inevitable. I don’t know how good he’ll be following so many injuries, but he could be worth a look if a takeover doesn’t take place (with that likely to determine whether our top targets are possible this winter)
‘Having criticised West Ham fans for leaving home games early, his relationship with the Hammers’ fans could be about to take a turn for the worse. Constantly linked with a return back to Newcastle, his style of play would fit perfectly with Benitez’s one up-front tactic. He’s on big wages but if he can keep fit, he would be some asset.’
Our verdict – A fit Andy Carroll is a force to be reckoned with, and I’d love to have him back if I knew he could stay away from the injuries, but that is a huge if with him. If a cut-price deal could be agreed, I’d take a risk on him, but I can’t see it happening unfortunately.
‘Linked to Newcastle in the summer after scoring 12 goals in 27 games while on loan at Besiktas. He’s gone on to score nine in 11 games and has impressed as Porto hold top spot in the league. At only 25, Aboubakar still has his the best years ahead of him.’
Our verdict – As the above alludes to, he’s been in superb form, not only scoring in 9 of 11 league games for Porto, but scoring 3 goals in their 3 Champions League games too. He’s got pace and power and could be worth a look, however the fee Porto would demand would almost certainly be more than the figure thrown around over the summer (£10m) given his sensational form so far this season.