“Weren’t Newcastle United in the championship a few years ago?”. “I know, how did they manage to get back to European football so quick?”.

An amusing conversation I heard in a pub in London at the end of last season. So how did we manage to get back on form so quickly?

Fortunately for the Geordie Nation, many great decisions have been made at Newcastle over the last few years (As well as some bad ones – ‘Sports direct Arena’…coughs) but the best decision the club has made must surely be supporting Graham Carr and his team of scouts.

We have managed to find some bargains of the footballing world, for mere pocket money to most football club owners  (Cabaye £4.5m – Tiote £3.5m – Ben Arfa £5m – and of course possibly the bargain of the century – Ba £FREE!).

Obviously Newcastle United’s signings this summer have proved much trickier, with most clubs realising we have a lot more money to part with than we make out.

The latest transfer news has linked us with well known strikers such as Andy Carroll, after extensive research though I’ve come up with relatively unknown strikers that could/would prove value for money.

Christian Benítez
Current Club
– Club América – Mexican Liga MX
Age
– 26
Caps for Country
– 51 (Equador)
Info
– Nicknamed Chucho; Benítez started out his career in 2004 at El National scoring 29 goals in 83 apps. He then moved to Santos Laguna in 2007 scoring 51 goals in 95 games. During his time at Santos Laguna he made an unsuccessful loan move to Birmingham City, scoring only 4 goals in 30 games. In 2011 however, he moved to Club America for an alleged amount of $10m and has scored 26 goals in 40 games – which on average translates to one goal every 1.53 games (Ok he is no Papiss Cisse but still a pretty good season). He has been the top goalscorer on two separate occasions in the Mexican Liga MX.

Pros
He has a proven scoring record
Age (he has experience but is still learning and has a lot of playing time ahead of him.)
Could be bought estimated relatively cheap in comparison to a premiership striker with that form

Cons
Probably the worst season of his career was at Birmingham city, maybe he is not cut out for English football.
He is only in his second year of his new contract, it might be hard to strike a deal with his current club for the right money.
Seems to play close in the box picking up loose and tight balls (With Cisse currently playing this style there might be some head clashing).
[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/u1OdkHuj6Ns” rel=”0″ showinfo=”0″] 

Lorenzo Insigne

Current Club – Napoli (although has always been out on loan)
Age
– 21
Position
– Striker
Caps
– 5  (Italy U21 – 3 goals)
Info
– His most credible seasons have been his last two; in 2010-2011 he was on loan to Foggia where he scored 19 goals in 33 apps. Then in 2011-2012 he was on loan to Pescara were he scored 18 goals in 37 apps.
The greatest thing about Insigne however is his skill and ball control, not to mention his speed. He reminds me of Ben Arfa in the second half of last season for us out on the wing.

Pros
Napoli obviously don’t have a big plan for him seeing as they always have him on loan, they may be tempted by an upfront cash offer.
He is still very young so could be converted into playing down the left wing, complementing Ben Arfa on the right.
He claims to be a ‘second striker’ and to have scored that many whilst still providing for the main striker is quite an accomplishment.

Cons
I’ve head he has returned to Napoli for the 2012-2013 season to replace the departed Lavezzi, meaning his price may go up if he has a good season.
[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/4aTENOX8VRM” rel=”0″ showinfo=”0″] 

Jordan Rhodes

Current Club – Huddersfield town

Age – 22

Caps –Scotland U21 – 8

Info – Jordan Rhodes has been in the press a lot lately with a bidding war between Fulham and Blackburn seeming to storm the headlines. Rightly so as Rhodes looks to be a terrific talent in the making. He has already scored 71 goals in 122 games since joining Huddersfield from Ipswich town in 2009.
Looks like he only has a year left on his contract seeing as he joined in 2009 on a 4 year deal. Last season alone he fired in 40 goals helping Huddersfield secure promotion. Rhodes certainly looks like he is ready for a taste of the PL, maybe he can provide some back-up support to Ba and Cisse next season.

Pros
Young talent – still learning and developing as a footballer
Proven high goal scoring record

Cons
Blackburn have allegedly had a £6m bid rejected already so landing him might not get you any change from £10m (However if he produces in the PL that £10m will be a bargain buy).
[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/o3SeHq5UOJQ” rel=”0″ showinfo=”0″] 

Some potential striker transfer food for thought, or just a few videos to pass time at work!

We’d love to hear who you think of the lesser known players would be worth a punt, leave your suggestions in the comment box below, or tweet me @Shieldsyboy  and  @nufcthemag