According to the Northern Echo’s Scott Wilson, Nice striker Alassane Plea is Rafa Benitez’s ‘number one’ attacking target, but he has identified West Brom’s Salomon Rondon as a ‘back-up option’ if a move for the Frenchman fails to materialise.
The story claims we are now preparing a new improved offer for Plea after having an initial bid rejected, however it seems as though Benitez is preparing a plan B – which is understandable given the sort of money Nice look set to demand for their top scorer.
The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has also confirmed Rafa’s interest again this morning, admitting that the players agent has been back in touch with NUFC:
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) July 4, 2018
After failing to report to training for new boss Patrick Vieira, Nice are fighting to keep hold of their prize asset but as always, price is proving a sticking point for Newcastle. In Newcastle’s defence, it is a high fee for someone who has only really been prolific for one season of their career; though in this market, a proven striker would be north of £40m.
Rondon is an interesting one and from reading West Brom fan forums, he remains popular there and could be a great fit for Newcastle. He hasn’t been hugely prolific in England but is a class above our current options and would lead the line well given his pace and power. He has great pedigree from his Malaga days and Benitez could be the one to get the best out of him.
Either striker may not be the ‘blockbuster’ striker we dream of but considering no European football and a shoe string budget, they are as good as options as we can likely aim for currently. The key is that they would be significant upgrades and if Rafa wants them that is always good enough for the majority of fans.