As the season draws to a close, teams start looking toward the transfer market as they make plans for the 2013-14 campaign. For Newcastle United, it is no different, and Alan Pardew will be eager to strengthen his side as he looks to banish the memories of a poor campaign this time round.
The Magpies manager enjoyed a hugely successful January transfer window, securing no less than five first-team players and ultimately turning his side’s fortunes around. Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko have all hit the ground running in their Newcastle careers, and Pardew will be looking to recreate the impact of the signings when the window reopens in the summer.
There is no doubt that the current Newcastle squad needs improvement, with their league position proving the theory.
But there is one position that needs the most work. Pardew’s options in attack have been limited all season and with the January departure of Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse has been the first-choice centre forward for every game since.
Being first choice is just what Cisse wanted, although the Senegal man has not been able to find the form that he showed last season when he netted 13 goals in 15 games after joining from SC Freiburg.
Despite improving in recent weeks, Cisse has just nine goals all season and at times has struggled with the workload of being a lone striker. With all Newcastle’s attacking play designed to create chances for their No. 9, opposition defenders have been paying extra attention to the 27-year-old and limiting the chances he gets.
Pardew’s only alternative for the centre-forward role in his side is veteran Shola Ameobi, who has never been prolific or effective enough to hold down a starting place in the Newcastle side. Other than Ameobi, 18-year-old Adam Campbell is the next option, but he is far too raw to be anything other than an impact substitute.
With the lack of choice, Pardew will definitely be looking to add to his attacking options and a new striker will almost certainly be arriving at St James’ Park this summer.
St. Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a well-known target for the Geordies, while Andy Carroll has recently been linked with a return to Tyneside.
Either of the two players mentioned would improve Newcastle’s chances of qualifying for Europe again next season significantly, as the pressure would be lifted off Cisse’s shoulders and allow the Senegal man to concentrate solely on finishing chances rather than creating them and being the focal point for all of Newcastle’s more direct play.
Should a top striker come through the doors at St James’ Park in time for the new season, Alan Pardew will surely be able to rotate his strikers sufficiently enough to keep the goals flowing on Tyneside and in turn, propel the Geordies high up the Premier League table.