This comes from Mark Douglas’ piece which looks at how Newcastle could look next season if he gets his way, focusing on each area of the field and revealing a few players Benitez has his eye on in each department.
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s section assessing Rafa’s attacking targets, followed by a closer look at each of the four names mentioned:
“Newcastle need a target man and with Islam Slimani a no-go and Mitrovic on his way, United will be scouring Europe for a budget-conscious option.
“The continual links with Bas Dost may prompt sighs from Newcastle fans but he ticks plenty of boxes and was on the list last year – as was Wilian Jose, the Real Sociedad striker who would now command a huge fee after a season of success in La Liga that saw him called up for the Brazil squad.
“Nicolai Jorgensen was the player Benitez wanted in January but Feyenoord knocked Newcastle back then. Angers striker Karl Toko-Ekambi, who is 25 and has 22 goals in Ligue 1 this season, is another player who would come in closer to the £20million mark.”
Just about every NUFC fan will be aware of his name after his continual links with Newcastle United over the past few years, however some may be unaware of just how well the 6ft 5′ Dutchman has been doing recently.
He’s fast become one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, scoring 70 goals in 89 games for Sporting Lisbon. It may be the Portuguese league, but it’s still mightily impressive.
Given the fact he turns 29 later this month, we’ll have to hope Sporting Lisbon are willing to sell him for a cut-price fee if we want him, but, given his goal record, I can’t see him coming all that cheap. That being said, he’s said to be ‘desperate’ to leave this summer after he and several teammates were recently attacked by Sporting Lisbon ultras.
Given his wealth of experience in Spain, it’s no surprise to see Rafa linked with a move for the Real Sociedad hitman.
He’s been pretty prolific in La Liga for two seasons now, scoring 20 in all comps this year and 14 last season, but with that could come a hefty fee – as stated by Mark Douglas above.
He is 26, however, so has his best years ahead of him and is 6ft 2′ tall so has the sort of stature to suggest he could lead the line on his own up top. If the price was within Rafa’s budget, he’d be a brilliant buy for Benitez.
Came close (ish) to joining us in January by all accounts, however it seems we were unwilling to pay Feyenoord’s £20m asking price.
In a way, I don’t blame us. I can see why he would’ve impressed NUFC scouts last season, bagging an incredible 25 goals and 17 assists during Feyenoord’s title winning season, however he’s scored just 10 league goals all season this time around.
He’s 27 so couldn’t be seen as a younger player with huge potential, and comes from a league which is way off the pace of the Premier League. Unless they reduced their asking price significantly and/or we signed him as an’ option’ up top, I’d prefer to avoid him.
A player very few will have heard of, but a striker who has enjoyed an outstanding season in France over 2017/18.
Despite Angers enduring a difficult season in Ligue 1, the Cameroonian international has gone on to score 17 times in the league.
He’s a good age at 25, can play up top or out wide and would probably be in our price range (unlike the first two in this list of four).
Another risk, but one who looks a little more suited to England that the likes of Jorgensen?
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.