In the aftermath of last Friday’s bitterly disappointing defeat to Fulham – in which the Magpies failed to score – it’s clear that Newcastle are short of sufficient striking options.
Benitez is still actively scouring the transfer market for a centre forward that fits the bill and, with persistent doubts over Aleksandar Mitrovic’s attitude and inexperience, the need for an experienced forward to come in and take some of the burden from the Serbian, Dwight Gayle and Adam Armstrong is there for all to see.
Here I take a look at five possible options who could do a job for Newcastle.
Abel Hernandez (Hull City)
Hernandez would be a solid buy for any Championship side, and could arguably do a job for a clutch of Premier League teams. 20 goals in the Championship is an impressive strike rate, and the 26-year-old would bring pace and power to a team that has lacked just that in previous seasons.
It’s important to have strikers who will bring different qualities to the team. Mitrovic is a good target man and Gayle is a fast striker who will get in behind, however he ideally needs someone next to him who is strong and quick, Hernandez fits the bill.
There is a reported £10.2million clause in the Uruguayan’s contract and, with his current employers Hull City in a state of turmoil after Steve Bruce’s departure, coughing up the cash and triggering a deal would be another smart bit of business by Benitez.
Britt Assombalonga (Nottingham Forest)
Assombalonga is an interesting one. In the 2013-14 season, he scored 23 goals for Peterborough, earning him a move to Nottingham Forest. In the following season, he scored 18 goals for Forest but then went on to miss 14 months of first team football due to an injury he suffered in February, 2015.
He is a striker that possesses frightening pace and physicality and he has already got two goals this season after Forest’s opening day 4-3 win over Burton Albion. He would certainly bring much-needed goals to the team.
Chris Martin (Derby County)
Chris Martin is a safe option. The 27-year-old Scottish -born forward has many years of experience in the Championship and in the last three years he has averaged more than 15 goals per season. The best part for Derby is that they managed to get him on a free. However, Martin doesn’t just bring goals – he also creates them.
Last season he managed 10 assists, which is impressive for a striker, he also has fantastic ability from free kicks. United have lacked a dead ball specialist since Cabaye departed for PSG in 2014 and are currently crying out for quality from set pieces – as evidenced by Ayoze Perez’s woeful deliveries at Craven Cottage.
Jonathan Kodjia (Bristol City)
Bristol City striker Jonathan Kodjia is apparently available for £10 million, if reports are to be believed, and the 26-year-old certainly knows where the back of the net is.
The Frenchman scored an impressive 20 goals in the Championship last season in what was his maiden campaign in that division. He’s quick and lethal in front of goal, but there may well be doubts as to whether he can hit a similar tally this time around as he may have benefited from being an unknown quantity in his first Championship season last time out. T
hat said, sometimes a calculated risk is needed and, at 26, he has his best years ahead of him.
Danny Ings (Liverpool)
An ambitious one but what a massive coup it would be if Newcastle United managed to pull it off.
Ings has experience of the Championship and the Premier League, scoring 21 goals in Burnley’s promotion season two years ago and following it up by scoring 11 goals in their first season back in the top flight.
Ings’ blistering form earned himself a move to Liverpool but, after an injury-hit campaign and rumours of him not being in Klopp’s plans, there is a chance he could be persuaded to drop down a division to play under an established manager in front of 50,000 passionate Geordies week in, week out.
Benitez has an enviable list of footballing contacts and I’m sure the revered Spaniard will be using them to his full advantage and assessing a whole host of strikers that he feels could have a positive impact over the coming season.
Let’s hope Rafa can bolster our ranks sooner rather than later!
Which forwards would you like to see Newcastle target over the coming weeks? Contact us on Twitter @NUFC360 and let us know!