Centre-forward is a position that most Newcastle United fans – and probably Rafael Benitez as well – would have earmarked as an area in need of strengthening heading into this summer.
With Gayle’s hamstring troubles and Benitez having little trust in Mitrovic, the former Madrid manager will have undoubtedly been looking to add to Newcastle’s striking ranks.
Yet with less than two weeks until the big opener against Spurs, no forward has arrived.
With Tammy Abraham opting for Swansea, Andre Gray being linked with a £20m move to Wolves, and Lucas Perez currently looking out of Newcastle’s price range, Benitez may have to look abroad for a front man.
Here are five strikers Benitez could realistically bring to St. James’ Park.
** **Gerard Moreno
Benitez will be familiar with Moreno, with the Espanyol man having plied his trade in La Liga for quite some time now. The 25-year-old bagged 13 goals and recorded four assists last term and has been a big hit with the Catalan club’s fans since moving from Villarreal in 2015.
WhoScored ranked him as the 16th best player in La Liga in the last season with an average match rating of 7.24, giving him six MOTM’s. Moreno could be a quality buy and would come at a reasonable price.
The Italian striker did well in a Crotone side battling relegation, scoring 13 goals. The Serie A outfit struggled to create chances, evidenced by their measly 16 goals from open play – the fewest in the division.
The 26-year-old was linked with a £9m switch to Everton earlier this year, and, at that price, he would very much be attainable.
The 24-year-old Senegalese striker is coming off of a decent season with Fiorentina, scoring 14 goals for the club in 31 appearances – 18 being starts.
With the Italian outfit chasing young striker Giovanni Simeone and Nikola Kalinic already being at the club, Babacar could become available.
Kramaric enjoyed a very successful season at Hoffenheim last campaign, scoring 20 goals and recording 8 assists in all competitions. The Croatian does have experience in the Premier League, as he had a short, albeit unsuccessful stint at Leicester.
It can be argued that he was never given a proper chance, though, with Vardy’s form keeping him out of the side. Once of interest to Chelsea, the talent is certainly there.
The Real Sociedad striker missed the entire 16/17 season through injury. However, prior to his injury, the 30-year-old was a man in form, scoring 13 goals in 16 appearances during the 15/16 campaign. It’s unclear whether he’d want to leave Sociedad, though, as he’s spent his entire professional career at the club.
But with the San Sebastian club already having a quality striker in Willian Jose and with Agirretxe being 30, the Spanish striker could possibly be acquired for a nominal fee – presenting Benitez with a low risk, possible high reward transfer.