As the Premier League season nears its conclusion, rumours surrounding potential new arrivals at every club start to circulate. At Newcastle United, it’s no different, and the main rumours are concentrated on finding a new striker to share the scoring burden with Papiss Cisse.
Cisse has played almost every game he’s been available for since the season kicked off in August and hasn’t reproduced the type of form he showed when he signed for the Toon from SC Freiburg last January.
The Senegal striker has played 30 games this campaign and returned only seven goals. Last season, Cisse bagged 13 goals in his first 15 games for the Magpies, so the poor return signals the need for a partner.
One of the main names being linked with a possible move to Newcastle is St. Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (via Daily Mail). The 23-year-old Gabon international has been catching the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and is expected to leave France in the summer.
Newcastle’s chief scout, Graham Carr continues to find the finest talents in France and send glowing reports back to Newcastle, with Aubameyang often reported as a long-term target for the St. James' Park club.
If the Magpies are to secure the signing of Aubameyang, they will have to beat off the attentions of numerous other clubs to do so, meaning the price of the 17-goal striker may rise to beyond what manager Alan Pardew is willing to pay.
Should there be a new striker arriving in the summer, the main decision will surround the inclusion of the new man. Pardew’s preferred formation is with one striker, meaning any new signing will have to force either a change in system or force Cisse out of the team.
If the formation stays the same, one will have to sit out while the other starts, which cannot lead to both men being equally happy. If the signing turns out to be Aubameyang, being second-choice striker behind Cisse is not going to please him.
Therefore, a lesser-known forward could be the way to go for Pardew. Bringing in someone with a smaller reputation would give Newcastle good backup for when Cisse needs a rest and wouldn't unsettle him. Celtic striker Gary Hooper wouldn't be a bad option and could be a fit for Newcastle’s system.
If Newcastle can get their biggest decision of the summer correct, then they could set themselves up for a much-improved 2013-14 season. With the right addition, the Magpies will have the firepower to propel them up the league table, and if they can strengthen other areas too, a repeat of last season’s fifth-place finish could be within reach.