While it’s never wise to read too much into pre-season friendlies, three Newcastle United wins in a row—and three clean sheets—suggests the mood at St. James’ Park has lifted after last season’s collapse.
A 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday this midweek came courtesy of Ayoze Perez’s first goal for the club, and another encouraging display from fellow new boy Emmanuel Riviere bodes well for the Magpies.
But despite their efforts in south Yorkshire, manager Alan Pardew is still seeking a new striker to carry the goalscoring burden once the new campaign gets underway.
And according to The Shields Gazette’s Miles Starforth, the Toon boss seemingly hasn’t given up on securing Loic Remy’s services after his expected £8 million move to Liverpool broke down over the weekend.
A flurry of activity behind the scenes has seen six players arrive on Tyneside this summer, but the need for reinforcements up front is weighing heavy on Pardew’s mind.
After his side failed to find the net in almost half of its Premier League games last term, it’s easy to understand why the 53-year-old is eager to bolster his attacking options.
“Looking at our squad, we’re still shy of a striker,” he said. “That would be ideal. If we could get one that suited the club, we’ll take that forward.”
And on the Remy situation he added: “I didn’t expect that. I thought that deal was sealed and done, as I’m sure his agent and the player thought as well.
“I’m very surprised with that. Our medical team had no problem with Loic. On anything, we just monitor as we go.”
One big plus for the Geordies this pre-season has been the form of midfielder Mehdi Abeid, who put in another sterling shift at Hillsborough on Wednesday.
After spending last season on loan with Greek side Panathinaikos, where he won a winner's medal and helped steer the club to the Champions League, it’s clear the Algerian has benefited greatly from his time in Athens.
Places in Newcastle’s engine room will be hard to come by over the coming weeks, with Cheick Tiote, Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita and new arrival Jack Colback all vying for a place in the starting XI.
But Abeid’s impact this summer has not gone unnoticed, and if he continues in a similar vein at the Schalke 04 Cup in Gelsenkirchen this weekend, the 21-year-old will be hard to ignore.