The art of finding value for money in the transfer market has been moulded into an art form at Newcastle United, and two leagues in particular have provided some bona fide bargains.
Navigated by chief scout Graham Carr, the Magpies have found France and Holland to be happy hunting grounds since the former Northampton Town boss landed the role in 2010.
In an often-inflated economy, the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote (to name but a few) represent some of the best pound-for-pound buys in the club’s modern history.
But scouring Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie for untapped talent is nothing new on Tyneside.
Back in 2000, left-back Olivier Bernard arrived at St. James’ Park on a free transfer from Lyon before going on to make almost 120 appearances and playing in the Champions League.
Fast-forward five years and a 17-year-old goalkeeper by the name of Tim Krul was drafted in from ADO Den Haag for a nominal fee. Some nine years later he was a Netherlands hero on the biggest stage of all.
Other leading examples prior to Carr’s appointment include Charles N’Zogbia from Le Harve, Habib Beye from Marseille and Sebastien Bassong—an unknown defender from Metz who commanded a fee of £8 million within a year.
This summer has been no different, with Dutch internationals Siem de Jong and Daryl Janmaat plucked from Holland and Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere making the switch across the English Channel.
So with expert knowledge at their disposal, not to mention an enviable track record, who will be the next name through the door before the transfer window shuts in a little over four weeks’ time?
Toon boss Alan Pardew has made no secret of his desire to land an out-and-out goalscorer, as reported by the Evening Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, and while names continually surface in the media, one in particular simply refuses to go away.
In the Premier League at least, little was known of striker Alexandre Lacazette 12 months ago. But all that changed as the Frenchman netted 23 times in all competitions for Lyon, sparking a flurry of interest from abroad.
But perhaps unsurprisingly, Newcastle had already done their homework on the 23-year-old, and according to Lee Ryder in the Evening Chronicle, they remain hopeful of cutting a deal.
In many ways, Lacazette would represent a typical United signing—a young, promising international who has represented his country at every level before enjoying a breakthrough season both domestically and on the European stage.
As Ryder suggests, his initial price tag has failed to deter the club’s hierarchy, and just as it did with Cabella, their patience could be rewarded as the August deadline looms.
There are, of course, other options, and as Mirror Football’s David Maddock suggests, FC Lorient forward Vincent Aboubakar (above) is another typically understated name to have been checked and rechecked by the Magpies’ backroom team.
But whoever ends up leading the line for the Geordies when the new campaign gets underway, their covetable form when it comes to scouting and recruitment suggests he’ll be a good fit.