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Newcastle United Premier League strikers ranked from worst to best – Part Two (50-41)

2 months ago

Ranking all of the Newcastle United Premier League strikers from worst to best.

For every Shearer, Ferdinand or Beardsley who has delighted the Toon Army, there has been a Riviere, Guivarc’h or Slimani causing dismay.

With goal scorers placed on a pedestal by the club, I decided to undertake the mission of ranking all of those who have appeared in at least one PL match.

Certain players, Keith Gillespie and Siem De Jong for example, who were used as emergency strikers in one-off games are excluded from the list, while – possibly contentiously – the likes of Joelinton and Temuri Ketsbaia are included, having played a significant number of times as a central attacker.

I am not looking at the cost of the player, rather their league performance as a striker.

In the case of few appearances, the player may be ranked higher than someone who was inferior for a prolonged period.

Likewise, unlike Brucey, I’m not counting players like ASM and Ryan Fraser as strikers, although the Frenchman has played a handful of games in a central role it isn’t a high enough proportion to warrant inclusion.

PART TWO (50-41)

Hello and welcome to the second of our six-part series ranking all of Newcastle United’s Premier League strikers from worst to best.

A reminder that this series is not looking at the player’s value for money (or lack thereof), rather their top-flight league performances as a striker.

In the case of few appearances, the player may be ranked higher than someone who was useless for a prolonged period.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

50. Islam Slimani (4 games, 0 goals)

The 29-year-old Algerian arrived on loan midway through the 2017-18 campaign, having failed to hold down a place at Leicester City following his £28m transfer from Sporting Lisbon.

His NUFC debut against Huddersfield and subsequent appearance versus Arsenal saw him involved in the build-up of winning goals, but injuries and suspension meant a promising start soon fizzled out.

A talented big man, Slimani is one of a litany of instantly forgettable loan signings completed on Mike Ashley’s watch.

49. Xisco (9 games, 1 goal)

Cited as one of the reasons for Kevin Keegan’s departure in 2008, the Spanish under-21 striker was reportedly earmarked by Club Executive, Dennis Wise, who felt he represented better value than KK’s preferred target, Louis Saha.

Scoring on debut against Hull, Xisco soon fell out of favour with interim manager Joe Kinnear. Farcically, the club then attempted to peddle him in January, only to be told he wouldn’t be permitted to play for three clubs in a season!

Following promotion, Xisco showed a rare glimpse of quality when setting up Andy Carroll’s hat-trick strike against Aston Villa (the reason I’ve bumped him up a couple of places). Did nothing else of note but remarkably remained on the club’s books until 2013.

48. Stephane Guivarc’h (4 games, 1 goal)

King Kenny’s hunt for a striker to play alongside Alan Shearer led to Auxerre’s international forward, Stephane Guivarc’h, who had recently failed to score for France in the 1998 World Cup after notching 21 goals in Ligue 1 throughout the 1997-98 season.

The 26-year-old tapped one in during a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, but Dalglish’s replacement, Ruud Gullit, never rated the gap-toothed lothario, who was swiftly packed off to Glasgow Rangers for the same £3.5m fee the Magpies had paid less than three months earlier.

47. Alan Smith (52 PL games, 0 goals)

Smith’s inclusion on the list is based upon two periods as a striker under Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan, where he showed tenacity but was averse to taking shots at goal.

Never in position to trouble opposition goalkeepers, ‘Smudge’ had seen his stock plummet significantly since a leg break at Manchester United, caused by the typically wholehearted block of a John Arne Riise free kick.

The Alan Smith who joined Newcastle for £7m in 2007, at the embryonic phase of Mike Ashley’s tenure, was a shadow of the Leeds upstart who showed such promise as a teenager, and his post-Newcastle career was spent as an underwhelming defensive midfielder in the lower leagues.

46. Giuseppe Rossi (11 games, 0 goals)

A red-hot prospect, the American born 19-year-old was hailed as a positive loan signing by Newcastle manager, Glenn Roeder, who was ecstatic Manchester United had agree to a short-term deal.

The prolific partnership between Obafemi Martins and Antoine Sibierski restricted his game time, causing Sir Alex Ferguson consternation as the Italian U21 striker languished on the bench most weeks despite flashes of quality.

With the loan concluded mid-season, Parma borrowed the youngster for the second half of the campaign, rewarded as he netted an impressive nine times in 19 Serie A matches.

45. Shefki Kuqi (6 games, 0 goals)

With a musk of desperation palpable following the £35m January deadline day sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool in 2011, Alan Pardew was forced to rummage around discarded skips and bins to find a short-term replacement to supplement his depleted forward line.

Following a brief scroll through his rolodex, 34-year-old journeyman Kuqi, a Finnish international who had recently been released by Swansea City, was deemed the best fit.

The barrel chested number 42 gave a bustling account of himself during a series of pithy appearances, albeit while possessing the touch of a rubber dinghy with a watermelon dropped onto it from height.

44. Adam Armstrong (15 PL games, 0 goals)

Clinical youth academy striker with an exceptional record through the England junior ranks, ‘Arma’ was often compared to Peter Beardsley during his developmental phase.

Following a prolific 20-goal loan spell in League One with Coventry City, the young striker struggled in the Championship with both Barnsley and Bolton – the latter inconceivably selecting him as a winger.

He blossomed in his final loan spell at Blackburn, earning a £1.75m move to Ewood Park, where a 28-goal haul last season led to a £17m transfer to top-flight Southampton, Newcastle banking a cool £6.8m due to a 40% sell-on agreement.

43. Paul Dalglish (11 games, 1 goal)

The son of Newcastle manager Kenny, Paul Dalglish was snatched from the Liverpool academy aged 20 in 1997 and immediately loaned out to Bury.

It wasn’t until Dalglish Sr was replaced by Ruud Gullit that the youngster was given his first team chance on Tyneside, impressing with a sequence of promising displays, the pinnacle of which seeing him poke his only PL goal past Pavel Srnicek in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Sadly, erstwhile boss Kenny’s fractious relationship with the club, and Gullit’s vindictive nature, combined to stifle his growth, and a £300,000 move to Norwich was the next juncture of a nomadic career which took in a myriad of clubs but recorded few goals.

42. Jon Dahl Tomasson (23 games, 3 goals)

Has a Newcastle flop ever gone on to enjoy as glittering a career as Jon Dahl Tomasson?

A £2.2m acquisition from Heerenveen, the 20-year-old Danish attacking midfielder, who publicly snubbed Sunderland the previous season, enjoyed a fruitful 1997-98 pre-season, where he played in support of either Alan Shearer (once recovered from injury) or Tino Asprilla.

A striker crisis thrust Tomasson up-front, where his lack of physical prowess was exposed and he lost his starting place before being sold to Feyenoord for £2.5m the following summer, later becoming Denmark’s record goal scorer and enjoying three trophy-laden seasons at AC Milan.

41. Andreas Andersson (27 games, 4 goals)

Christened ‘Pamela’ on account of a string of lily-livered displays, the Swede was another inadequate striker signed as part of Kenny Dalglish’s pursuit to replace the club legends he’d allowed to leave.

A £3.6m signing from AC Milan at the turn of 1998, AA was called to help breathe life into a moribund, goal-shy side, despite having been a flop in Serie A.

Contrary to his lack of overall success, the floppy haired frontman had a peculiar knack of scoring against stronger sides, with three of his four Toon goals coming away from home against the might of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.

With a lot of the riffraff now accounted for, tomorrow will see The Mag delve into positions 40 down to 31, as we approach the middle of the pack.

Let us know your thoughts on the names so far, do you think any deserve a little more credit? Remember, all stats are based on Premier League appearances only, so strikers such as Marlon Harewood, who appeared for NUFC exclusively in the Championship, aren’t eligible to make the list.

(To read yesterday’s countdown of Newcastle United Premier League strikers 60-51 go HERE)

You can follow Dom on Twitter @KreamyDom


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