According to Chris Waugh, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Nicolai Jorgensen (Denmark), Andrej Kramaric (Croatia), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Yoshinori Muto (Japan), Ruben Loftus Cheek (England) and Badou Ndiaye (Senegal) are all players Newcastle could have a close eye on – with the club believed to have shown interest in all seven building up to this summer’s transfer window.
Here’s what he had to say about each, claiming they are the ‘ones to watch’ for NUFC fans during the upcoming World Cup:
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)
“Golovin’s agent, during an interview with a Russian website, name-checked both Newcastle and Southampton as the two Premier League clubs he believes hold an active interest in signing the 19-cap Russia international this summer.
“Rafa Benitez is understood to have made signing an attacking-midfielder a priority, and his recruitment team have been scouting a number of targets in recent months – but whether Golovin is high on that list remains to be seen.
“If Newcastle do want to sign Golovin this summer, then the Magpies may need to break their transfer record in order to secure a deal, with Golovin’s agent claiming CSKA Moscow want £17.6million (€20m) for the midfielder.
“Golovin has been the poster boy of Russia’s World Cup campaign and fans should be able to see him from the tournament’s opening match against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.”
Our thoughts: The exact type of player who could secure himself a big move if he impresses this summer. We’ll probably be priced out of a move as it is, so a good tournament for him and we can probably forget it. He’ll be one to watch when Russia play Saudi in the opening game!
Nicolai Jorgensen (Denmark)
“Benitez identified the Denmark international as his top January striker target and the Magpies made two bids for the forward.
“However, United never came close to matching Feyenoord’s £20million asking price for the striker, and instead Newcastle signed Islam Slimani on a half-season loan deal from Leicester City on deadline day.
Once his move failed to materialise, Jorgensen’s form dipped dramatically – and the striker endured a three-month goal drought.
“Benitez still wants to recruit a centre-forward this summer, but it unclear whether Jorgensen remains his top target – given that Feyenoord are still expected to demand close to £20m for his signature.
“With eight goals in 28 appearances for Denmark, the 6ft 3in striker is likely to find the back of the net in Russia, too.”
Our thoughts: Get the feeling his chance to join NUFC was in January (not that we offered enough to allow it). We may be tempted to pursue him again if he looks good at the World Cup, but his recent dip in form at Feyenoord is a concern.
Andrej Kramaric (Croatia)
“He may have failed to make an impact at Leicester following a £9m move in 2015, but Kramaric’s career scoring record remains very impressive – and Newcastle are understood to have watched him extensively over the past 12 months.
“Since joining Hoffenheim in 2016, the Croatia international has scored 28 goals in 68 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit, and he is still believed to be earn another opportunity in the Premier League.
“But, with Hoffenheim guaranteed a place in the Champions League group stages for next season, the 26-year-old will require an enticing offer to return to England.
“Given the competition Croatia have up front, Kramaric is not always an automatic starter, but the former Dinamo Zagreb striker has scored nine goals in 31 appearances for his country.”
Our thoughts: Did nothing at Leicester but he’s been banging them in for Hoffenheim – which is an interesting one as Germany is quite a similar type of league to England in terms of pace and physicality. Sounds like we’re watching him closely so keen to see what he looks like.
Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland)
“A striker who United considered during the final days of the January transfer window, Finnbogason has scored 22 goals in 46 Bundesliga games for FC Augsburg – the German side who Newcastle host at St James’ Park in their final pre-season friendly in August.
“Having scored 53 goals in 65 league goals for Heerenveen between 2012 and 2014, Real Sociedad took a risk on the forward – but he struggled to find the back of the net in Spain, and was loaned to Olympiacos before eventually moving to Germany.
“But over the past two seasons, the 6ft-tall Iceland striker has shown he can cut it in a physical league – and, given that he has a similar playing style to Jorgensen, he is someone who should be considered.
“At 29 years of age, however, Newcastle may deem Finnbogason a little too old to sign this summer – but it will be intriguing to see if he can add to the 13 goals he has scored in 47 appearances for his country.”
Our thoughts: Was brilliant an Holland, struggled in Spain and has done pretty well in Germany. A very mixed bag so a risk I’d probably prefer to see us avoid this summer – especially when he’s almost 30.
Yoshinori Muto (Japan)
“Someone who is far from a household name in England, but Muto has certainly impressed in the Bundesliga over the past few seasons.
“With 20 goals in 65 league appearances for Mainz, the forward has helped his club steer clear of relegation trouble in the last couple of years.
“Though his record for Japan is far-from impressive – he has two goals from 21 caps – Muto is not always his nation’s starting striker.
“The 25-year-old has regularly been linked with the Magpies in recent months, and Newcastle have had several scouts watching matches in Germany over the last couple of seasons.”
Our thoughts: Know little of him but he’s been linked quite a few times from various sources this summer. Will be interesting to see what he looks like, but suspect we’ll be looking at more proven strikers (or at least I hope we are).
Ruben Loftus Cheek (England)
“United were one of a host of clubs who wanted to sign the England international on loan in January 2016, but Conte opted to keep him at Stamford Bridge.
“After Loftus-Cheek excelled at Crystal Palace last season, he may be given a chance to impress at Chelsea.
“Should that not be the case, then Benitez would be keen to bring the 22-year-old to Tyneside – with Newcastle likely to explore the possibility of signing a Chelsea youngster on loan this summer.
“Loftus-Cheek is far from an automatic starter for England, but he should be given at least a couple of opportunities to add to his four caps in Russia.”
Our thoughts: Big fan of Loftus Cheek but think we missed the boat on him last summer. Think he’ll do well in Russia and end up being a player Chelsea start using next season. Huge talent – would love him in the number 10 role at NUFC if he gets loaned out again.
Badou Ndiaye (Senegal)
“Newcastle watched Ndiaye while he was playing out in Turkey for Galatasaray, but they were never going to pay the £14m fee which Stoke City forked out for the midfielder in January.
“But Benitez is understood to have been impressed by the feedback he received on the Senegal midfielder – and Ndiaye was one of Stoke’s best performers during the Potters’ woeful second half of the campaign.
“The 27-year-old could leave the Bet365 Stadium this summer and, if he is available for a cut-price deal, Newcastle may reignite their interest.
“Given that Senegal are in one of the most wide-open groups out in Russia, Ndiaye has the opportunity to show he can perform at the highest level, too.”
Our thoughts: Sounds like a player we like and impressed me whenever I watched him at Stoke. He’s someone I’d like to see us go for – although he may get some good offers elsewhere if he has a decent World Cup.
Anyone you’ll have your eye on in Russia?