When the summer transfer window closed at the beginning of this month, dissenting voices of Newcastle United’s fans could be heard loud and clear.
After a season of struggle that saw the Magpies narrowly avoid relegation, a much-needed recruitment drive failed to materialise, with just one loan signing arriving at St. James’ Park.
So with scouting already underway, we look at five potential targets who could find themselves on the Toon’s most wanted list in the New Year.
Newcastle United’s lack of attacking options is no secret, and with central striker Papiss Cisse without a goal in 11 Premier League games, the need for reinforcements is glaringly obvious.
One option in January is Icelandic forward Alfred Finnbogason, who is currently scoring for fun in Holland’s Eredivisie with Heerenveen.
The 24-year-old netted 28 times in 33 games for the Dutch side last season and has begun the 2013-14 campaign in emphatic fashion, with nine goals in just six league appearances.
According to Metro, the former Lokeren and Helsingborgs star was offered to United for a fee of £5 million during the summer, and the Magpies have had him watched while on international duty recently.
Newcastle United aren’t the only top-flight club keeping tabs on Blackpool midfielder Tom Ince, and the Magpies may face a fight for his signature if they decide to approach the Seasiders in January.
Ince, whose father Paul is his manager at Bloomfield Road, was the subject of much speculation during the summer, and was a reported target of big-spending Tottenham Hotspur according to Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail.
But a move to White Hart Lane failed to materialise, and bidding is expected to resume once the January transfer window swings open, with the Toon again credited with an interest in the 21-year-old.
As reported by Ben Jefferson in the Daily Express, Ince has been added to a list of talented, domestic-based players compiled by Alan Pardew and his backroom team.
Burnley striker Danny Ings has flourished since Charlie Austin left for Queens Park Rangers, and seven goals in his first 10 games this season has caught the attention of a number of top-flight clubs—Newcastle United included.
Clarets manager Sean Dyche is understood to have placed a £7 million price tag on the former Bournemouth man in an effort to keep Ings at Turf Moor beyond January.
But if he keeps scoring at his current rate, an offer from a club like Newcastle could spark a bidding war for the Winchester-born forward.
Another striker reportedly scouted by Newcastle United is Seydou Doumbia—an Ivorian international currently plying his trade for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League.
The prolific frontman has netted over 50 goals for CSKA since his £8.3 million switch from Swiss side Young Boys in 2010.
And if the Magpies follow up their interest, Doumbia’s Ivory Coast teammate Cheick Tiote, who has been at Newcastle for three years, could help persuade the forward to move to Tyneside.
Aside from his options up front, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is keen to add width to his squad, and one name that has cropped up in recent weeks is Norwich City’s Anthony Pilkington.
Mirror Football’s Alan Oliver has suggested that Pardew is looking to put pressure on Argentine winger Jonas Gutierrez, and could be readying a move for Pilkington in January.
The Republic of Ireland international played 33 times for the Canaries under former Toon boss Chris Hughton last term and has been at the club since 2011.
But his chances have been limited since the new campaign began, and a move away from Carrow Road could tempt the 25-year-old if he fails to hold down a regular starting spot.