Andy Carroll has missed the last 4 league games (and 1 FA Cup game) for Newcastle, and according to Rob Beasley of The Sun, he may miss up to 7 more. Beasley's source, ostensibly someone on the team's medical staff, indicated that Carroll's thigh injury is in fact a tear. Beasley lists April 2 as a possible return date for Carroll.
If this report is true, it's obviously a big blow. Carroll, who was leading the race for the Golden Boot when he went down with this injury, is the face of the team and the one player that opposing teams build their defensive strategies around. With Carroll in the lineup, Newcastle is a dangerous team through the air, but the Magpies have been forced to take a more predictable and direct route to goal the last couple of games.
The rest of the team has done relatively well in his absence, scoring a total of 8 goals in the 4 league games he has missed while not taking a loss in any of them. Those numbers are skewed, however, by a 5 goal explosion against the lowly Hammers that featured a Leon Best hat-trick. No disrespect to Mr. Best, but asking for a repeat of that performance is a fool's errand.
So would be expecting to continue to receive goal production from the midfielders and fullbacks. Kevin Nolan has done very well to score 10 goals so far this season, and I don't want to take anything away from him, but several of them have been of the "right place, right time" variety. The team certainly needs someone with that kind of awareness (and finishing ability, in some cases), but let's not go mistaking him for Kaka.
The current striker corps consists of Shola Ameobi, Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands, and Phil Airey. Oh, and Nile Ranger, who appears to have become an afterthought in the Alan Pardew era. That's not exactly a stable of forwards that strikes fear into the hearts of top flight managers the world over. You could probably argue for any duo out of that crew (minus Airey) and make a fairly good case that they should be the starters. Personally, I would favor Ameobi and Ranger.
So, the question is: With a little more than a week left in the transfer window, would you be okay with overpaying for a striker if it means boosting both the ability and profile of the striking corps? If so, who do you want? Are you happy with any of the options that have already been named in connection with Newcastle?