As is often the case at Newcastle United, when the dust settles on one drama, another emerges to take its place.
Thursday brought news that on-loan striker and top scorer Loic Remy could be missing for a minimum of three games, as reported by Anthony Marshall on the club’s official website.
And once again, Magpies fans are left to ask a familiar question: Who will score the goals in his absence?
Toon followers won’t need reminding of this, but aside from Remy’s 13 top-flight strikes, the club’s other recognised forwards have just one Premier League goal between them this term.
And in light of the Frenchman’s latest injury, which was picked up whilst on international duty last week, a common concern amongst the Toon faithful has surfaced once more.
In the short term, the spotlight will fall on another on-loan frontman—namely Dutchman Luuk De Jong—as well as misfiring duo Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse.
Wide midfielder Yoan Gouffran, who has seven goals to his name this season, could be utilised in a more central role, while United’s coaching staff will also look to Moussa Sissoko to pick up the baton.
With 10 matches remaining and a top-half finish practically guaranteed at St. James’ Park, such concerns could have come at a far more pivotal point than mid-March.
In truth, losing Remy for a handful of fixtures at this stage is not the be all and end all. Nor will it make or break the Magpies’ current campaign.
Beyond that, however, the situation engulfing the Toon’s goalscoring department needs urgent attention.
Add to that the likely exits of Ameobi, who is out of contract in June, and Cisse, who has seemingly lost all confidence in front of goal and subsequently that of his manager, and their difficulties escalate.
Under the hapless guidance of former director of football Joe Kinnear, the club wasted two transfer windows and has not made a permanent cash signing in more than a year.
And while United are expected to break that cycle sooner rather than later this summer, the need for reinforcements up front could not be clearer.
Whether De Jong, who is yet to get off the mark in a black-and-white shirt, is deemed good enough to bring in on a full-time contract remains to be seen.
Likewise, doubts surround the validity of a concrete offer for Remy, who spoke of a move to a "European top-five club" in a recent interview with France Football, via Patrick Haond from Sky Sports.
Where the duo end up will have a huge bearing on the task facing Newcastle’s hierarchy during the close season, but the need to fill the club’s famous No. 9 shirt—and then some—will be greater than ever.