If you believe what you read, Newcastle United were/are targeting three of the top five English Premier League goalscorers from last season.
Obviously it is a big ‘if’.
The story goes that Newcastle are going to target more homegrown players this summer and with United desperate for players who can score goals, that looks like English goalscorers being top of McClaren/Carr/Charnley’s list.
Just how realistic is this though?
The newspapers have been happy to credit Newcastle with an interest in Danny Ings, Saido Berehino and Charlie Austin for a while now.
Look though at this list of last season’s top Premier League goalscorers:
26 Sergio Aguero
21 Harry Kane
20 Diego Costa
18 Charlie Austin
16 Alexis Sanchez
14 Saido Berahino
12 Wayne Rooney
12 Graziano Pelle
12 David Silva
11 Danny Ings
The three linked with Newcastle are amongst the top five English scorers and indeed the top ten scorers overall (Ings sharing that tenth position of 11 goals with a number of players including Papiss Cisse).
Danny Ings has signed for Liverpool despite a £12m bid from Spurs, even if the scousers can’t agree a fee then a tribunal is likely to set the young player compensation fee at not far short of that Tottenham offer. Then you have Liverpool’s willingness to pay some of the top wages in the division.
That leaves us with Austin and Berahino, two of the top five goalscorers last season.
The other three of those played for Man City (Aguero), Spurs (Kane) and Arsenal (Sanchez) – the two players we are supposedly interested in, played for perennial strugglers West Brom (Berahino) and relegated QPR(Austin).
That fact means that their goals totals are even more admirable/valuable.
Berahino has started 43 Premier League games over the course of the last two seasons, scored 19 goals, and is only 21.
Austin started 35 PL games last season and scored 18 goals. In the previous three seasons in the Championship he started 98 matches and scored 59 goals, he’s 25 years of age.
Two strikers playing in poor teams and scoring for fun. Are we seriously supposed to think that Mike Ashley has any intention of trying to compete for either (both!!!) of these strikers?
Yet each day the media trot out stories claiming this is the case, without any background reasoning of why this could be the case.
Southampton have shown with their ambitious spending the last two years of what needs to be done, with a number of very good buys, including Pelle.
Swansea point the way with signings such as Bony who United refused to compete for, or even Gomis who Ashley wouldn’t pay the wages for.
It defies belief, sadly, for me that any rational person can swallow the idea that Newcastle have any intention of seriously going for these players (Austin/Berahino).
Of the three strikers Newcastle were linked with, Danny Ings was by far the ‘most likely’ to be achievable for NUFC, yet seemingly no serious effort at all was made to go for him. Ings had one season in the Championship when he scored 20 goals and then 11 goals in the PL this last season.
It is a decent profile but I don’t think it suggests anything like the goalscoring potential of either Berahino or Austin.
You have to surely suspend all reasoning to think that Newcastle will march in ahead of the other 19 Premier League clubs and sign either/both of these strikers. Plus of course the small matter of them choosing Newcastle ahead of other options.
I bet every Premier League club would be prepared to pay £10m+ for these strikers, including the likes of promoted Bournemouth and Watford.
Goals equal potential survival and for example, if say Hull had had either Berahino or Austin, then I have a feeling it would be now Newcastle in the Championship instead of Steve Bruce’s boys.
The reality is that I want to see our new manager signed up (McClaren wouldn’t have been my first choice but if that’s the case then let’s just get on with it), then a realistic transfer strategy laid out.
My opinion is that goalscorers with a credible PL record are out of our reach presently, even if Ashley belatedly wants to invest the TV riches.
However, recent seasons have seen NUFC pass up excellent overseas strikers such as Bony and Lacazette who have now gone on to be far beyond our means or ability to attract to Tyneside.
Newcastle have to target strikers who have scored loads of goals abroad and then use the carrot of the Premier League and PL competitive wages (more than clubs abroad can offer) to land a couple of goalscorers.
Buying players who haven’t scored loads of goals abroad, such as Riviere, are not the answer!