The January transfer window is rapidly approaching and as such, attention has turned to what Newcastle United need to do in the winter market. The Magpies won’t be breaking the bank, according to sporting director Dan Ashworth, but are hoping to be active in the window.
“We are going to have to be quite creative and there will not be a large number of players coming in, but we do want to be active,” the Newcastle chief told reporters recently. “We want to strengthen the squad and give us the best possible chance of success.”
Recent injuries have increased the debate over whether another striker, and what mould he may fit, should be brought in to offer more cover for Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson. The duo have both missed recent outings with groin and hamstring issues respectively.
With Anthony Gordon and Ben Parkinson dropping into the central striker role in the defeat to Bournemouth, do Newcastle need to find an extra body to compete with Isak and Wilson? It feels as though the consensus among supporters is that a new striker added into the mix is now a priority in January.
This, despite Wilson’s sublime goal record of late despite his regular injury issues. The 31-year-old’s injury record needs no going over but you cannot deny the fact he continues to score goals regularly at the highest level.
The former Bournemouth star has found the net seven times in 10 Premier League appearances this term. Wilson is averaging a goal every 69 minutes, ahead of Erling Haaland on 79 minutes and Isak on 83 minutes. Mohamed Salah is fourth on the list with 105 minutes per goal.
While fans argue there is a growing need for another striker, do Newcastle risk demoralising Wilson by essentially demoting him to third choice, despite his fine form and the fact he may well go the rest of the season without injury after his current hamstring injury, as he managed at the business end of last season.
With Newcastle trying to keep costs down and with no intention of breaking their current club record on another forward, it leaves the probability a young talent comes in to offer extra assistance. Garang Kuol or Yankuba Minteh are both seen as the future for Newcastle, should their careers take off as the club expect.
As for the current competition between Wilson and Isak, the former is loving having a such a top class operator to rotate with. “Ultimately, people will look at is as competition – which it is, we both want to be that person playing,” Wilson said on his podcast recently.
“But also, we both know that we can’t physically play every game anyway. So you can moan about ‘Oh, I want to play this game and that game’, but inevitably if you do that you will get setbacks, injuries and your load won’t be managed – you won’t be giving 110 per cent every time you’re there.
“I think it’s been working well the rotation element. Obviously at the moment Alex [Isak] is injured so we’re going to have to rely solely upon myself, and you need to make sure you stay strong and your recovery is 100 per cent and you’re playing at the top of your game. Soon, he’ll be back and that will help share the load again.”
It will be interesting to see how Eddie Howe and Ashworth view the striker situation and whether they use January to add cover in that position after not feeling the need to do just that in summer.
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