Less than 24 hours after being appointed manager/head coach and board member of Newcastle United, Steve McClaren appears to be on the warpath for signatures. His intent of attacking football looks to be backed up by the targets linked to the Toon. The highest-linked players to come to the northeast are all very offensive-minded players.
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The one that has everyone excited the most is QPR cast-off Charlie Austin. According to the Chronicle, the Magpies are in pole position for the 25-year-old's signature, besting alleged interest from Chelsea according to ESPNFC. Austin was the Rangers' leading scorer by a long shot, scoring 18 of their 42 goals in his first Premier League season. Their 2nd highest scorer was Leroy Fer with 6. He is rumored to be available for £15m, with Ashley, Charnley & co looking to spend a slight bit less.
Austin has said he will wait until after this weekend's international fixtures to make a decision on his next move. It appears he has a devil and angel on his shoulders. Sporting the horns is ex-Magpie bad boy Joey Barton. According to this Shields-Gazette article, he cites Newcastle as a "fantastic place to ply his trade" but warns of the instability of the Club. Naturally the halo belongs to Alan Shearer. Austin likens his play to Shearer's and questions if he could catch Big Al's 260 goals in the Premier League. Shearer took to Twitter and goaded him on to give it a try on Tyneside.
Why don't you come up here and try?! #9 https://t.co/xcQTYE1E83— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) June 8, 2015
Level of Desire: 10/10 - Austin has a gift for bagging goals, and improving his trade under McClaren can equal success for Newcastle and ultimately the England squad.
Level of Likeliness: 8/10 - Chelsea has deep pockets and can use them to snatch a player at any point. Austin's best chances for the England squad next summer involve weekly inclusion in the Starting XI. He will surely get it at Newcastle.
One of England's most prolific young talents is West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino. Berahino was responsible for 14 Premier League goals and 20 total in all competitions. A player who likens his style after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, Berahino shows raw talent in his movement off the ball and striking abilities.
According to the Mirror, Newcastle face competition from Everton and Southampton, but it is unsure who is in the lead on this deal. The Baggies' current owners are in the process of selling the club, and the potential new owners are in their period of due diligence. A minimum price tag of £20m is placed on the England U-21 star's transfer for the immediate future until the sale goes through.
Level of Desire: 9/10 - Berahino's goal-scoring ability is well established, and goals are something that we need more of. His smaller frame (5'11" vs Austin's 6'2") makes him less of an aerial target, something desperately needed by the Toon.
Level of Likeliness: 4/10. I cannot imagine Mike Ashley allowing £35m in transfers on a pair of strikers. His price tag plus uncertainty at West Brom could be deal-breakers. I anticipate this will jump to a 6/10 if Newcastle lose out on Charlie Austin and/or sell Papiss Cisse.
Dutch International Bas Dost has been almost as strongly linked with Newcastle as Charlie Austin since McClaren's appointment. Allegedy talks have occurred between McClaren and Dost according to Dutch paper AD.nl and the Shields-Gazette.
Dost is coming off his breakout Bundesliga season with Vfl Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. Dost scored 20 goals in all competitions this past season en route to winning the DFB-Pokal trophy, Germany's equivalent to the League Cup. Bost's most memorable performance came against Bayern Munich, scoring the first brace against the German superpower in 102 matches. Dost was also the Dutch Eredivisie's leading scorer with 32 league goals and 38 in all competitions.
It is unsure if Wolfsburg will sell the 26 year old after his best season with the club. It is also unsure what sort of transfer fee they will command for the 6'5" striker's signature.
Level of Desire: 7/10 - His scoring abilities are unquestioned, but he has not proven to adapt to a new league quickly. However, his height and size might be more suited for the Premier League. This would also give us another set piece target that we have been lacking in recent years.
Level of Possibility: 6/10 - This find screams of scout Graham Carr's work. If we can get him for under £10m, I think this is a no-brainer.
Hull and England U-21 striker is an interesting choice. He is currently on contract at Hull City but went out on loan to Steve McClaren's former club Derby County in February. According to the Mirror, Derby is also rumored to be fighting for the young lad's signature. The price tag is currently set at £6m to be paid in full. Derby fell short on bagging the young winger because they could only pay the transfer fee in installments.
Ince, son of former England captain Paul Ince, was a small sensation at Derby from February on. He scored 11 goals in 18 appearances and took the Championship's Young Player of the Year award. His father has been critical of Hull's treatment of Tom, and his influence could see an exit from the Tigers as they enter into the Championship.
Level of Desire: 6/10 - The young lad shows incredible promise and knows how to score goals. He may not start immediately, but he could put pressure on established players like Obertan, Gouffran, Cabella, and Sammy Ameobi on the wings.
Level of Possibility: 6/10 - Derby are looking to bag their starlet from last season on a full-time basis in hopes of promotion next year. Newcastle should have the deeper pockets in this situation and could agree to pay the transfer fee in full, as requested by Hull.
If the discovery of Bas Dost screams of Graham Carr's scout work, Juanmi screams, drips, and reeks of it. Carr has been scouting the 22-year-old Spanish international while he had his best year for Málaga. The 5'6-1/2" forward scored 8 goals in La Liga in 28 appearances. His size and nationality strongly mirror 2014/15 surprise star Ayoze Perez. The biggest difference is Juanmi was brought in to the national team camp to replace injured Diego Costa. He also earned his first cap with the Spanish side on May 31 in a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands.
What makes this deal so juicy is its low low price. Juanmi's current contract with Málaga has a release clause of just £5.5m. At that price, I find it very hard-pressed to see Newcastle passing on the chance to take a gamble on the lad and sign him.
Level of Desire: 5/10 - We already have a lot of young, shorter talent in our side, and foreign strikers have had varying success in the Premier League. I am weary of bringing in another just because of the price
Level of Possibility: 10/10 - Lee Charnley cannot pass up a bargain handed by his chief scout, and I do not see him changing anytime soon.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Not quite. It's just another rumor linking the Gateshead lad back to his boyhood club.
The 6'4" striker is being linked to the Toon according to the Chronicle. Carroll was transferred to Liverpool in 2011 for a staggering transfer fee of £35m, the record fee for a British footballer at the time. Since he left Newcastle, he has been plagued with injuries and has appeared in just 51 Premier League matches since 2011.
New boss Steve McClaren is looking for a "Number 9" type striker, following in the footsteps of Newcastle greats Alan Shearer, Malcolm Macdonald, and Jackie Milburn. He is already after a pair of strikers that fit this bill with fewer injuries. I suspect the Chron is grasping at straws on this one.
Level of Desire: 2/10 - He's too old, too injury-prone, and there has to be a better option available. We already went through massive goal droughts this season when Cisse was out injured or suspended, and Carroll will be more of the same.
Level of Possibility: 4/10 - Carroll has to be very low on the priority list for striker talent. Expect Newcastle to look elsewhere to join our striker corps.
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