14 strikers Newcastle could target in the summer '“ plus a blast from the past
A new striker. It's the signing every Newcastle United fan wants. It's what Rafa Benitez wants. It's what the club needs and must be the priority.
It is important it doesn't become an issue the club allow to drag on throughout the summer, irritating both fans and management.
Acting swiftly and decisively should set the club up for a positive summer, putting preparations in place for the new campaign.
To do so Newcastle will likely have to do something they haven't done since 2005: break their transfer record when they spent £16million on Michael Owen from Real Madrid.
So which strikers should manager Rafa Benitez be targeting?
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
This would be a signing which wows. The feeling in the Spanish capital is that the Frenchman will be on his way out after nearly 200 goals, more than 400 appearances and a glut of trophies including three Champions League titles.
Outlandish? Not quite. Now 30, Benzema may look for a new challenge where he is more respected, revered and the leading man in attack. He's worked with Benitez, who knows all about his selflessness, before.
It is a signing which would excite and entice.
Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid)
Similar to Benzema, Gameiro, previously linked with United, plays second fiddle at Atletico Madrid. If Antoine Griezmann does end up staying in Madrid he will be not be guaranteed a start – he's only started nine league games this season.
The 30-year-old Frenchman is quick, incisive and works hard. Swansea were keen on the player on January so he is very much a realistic possibility for Newcastle.
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan)
The 20-year-old has had an impressive breakthrough season in Serie A. Even more so when you consider the money the Milan giants spent in the summer transfer window as they pushed to return to the Champions League.
He has usurped bigger names to firmly establish himself as a key member of the side, netting 15 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions. There could be a fight for his signature in the summer if Milan don't make the Champions League and have to come up with funds.
Moussa Dembele (Celtic)
He's been linked with move of up to £40million since making his name at Celtic following a switch from Fulham. A more realistic figure would be half of that, but there is no question about the Frenchman's talents.
He has come up with big moments for both Celtic and France Under-21s. The bigger the game the more he thrives. He can play with his back to goal, link play and most importantly find the back of the net.
Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)
The 21-year-old is perhaps the rawest talent on the list. He went from playing in his native Colombia to starring in Scotland's top-flight via a stop in Finland. Nicknamed the Buffalo, he has bullied whole defences and unnerved the most hardy of centre-backs.
He has a tendency to miss easy chances but that should come with experience when he has greater concentration. He continues to get into the areas to be on the end of chances and offers so much outside the box.
Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord)
Before the arrival of Islam Slimani in January, Newcastle were pushing hard for Nicolai Jörgensen. The Feyenoord striker had the best season of his career in 2016-2017 with 25 goals but he has not been as prolific this season with 12 goals.
He will go to the World Cup with Denmark where a couple of goals would see his price increase significantly.
Alassane Plea (Nice)
An undoubtedly talented forward player who has shown up on Newcastle's radar. They will therefore be wary of a player who has suffered two serious injuries in the past three seasons.
The past two seasons have been his best in front of goal, averaging around a goal every other game but there are other more productive players in the Nice team.
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Bas Dost (Sporting Lisbon)
Unfashionable, traditional, old-school, not easy on the eye. The Dutchman is a throwback. He is a striker who scores goals. His record everywhere is testament to that. Heerenveen in his native Netherlands? 52 goals in 73 games. Wolfsburg? 48 in 117. Sporting? Just the 64 in 84 outings.
According to reports he has his sights set on leaving Portugal. But does he have what it takes to make the step up to the Premier League?
Point to prove
Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)
He has the personality to become a fan favourite, plus the talent. He wasn't trusted at Chelsea, but his strike rate for the minutes he plays is impressive.
The Belgian has proven to be an inspired loan signing for Dortmund where he has been able to display his ability to lead the line on his own and exceptional technique.
Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla)
The Frenchman will go down in Sevilla folklore for the part he played in knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League, netting a double at Old Trafford. However, he came off the bench to do so.
Despite eight goals in eight Champions League games he has started just 16 league games with the club preferring Luis Muriel. Ben Yedder still managed to earn his France debut in March. The player would see becoming a Premier League regular as a step up.
Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
It's safe to say the Venezuelan is not a 20-goal a season forward. But he is someone who had adapted to the Premier League. Rondon has been a good focal point for the Baggies and would certainly provide a useful sounding board for Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez and possibly Kenedy.
He himself will want to prove that he belongs at the Premier League level with West Brom a near-certainty for relegation.
Mariano Diaz (Lyon)
The Dominican Republic international has spent most of his career playing in the Spanish lower leagues with Real Madrid's second and third sides. However he has taken to Ligue 1 well, netting 20 in 41.
The 24-year-old is single-minded to the point of greed in front of goal but Benitez will know him well from his time at Real Madrid.
Bobby Reid (Bristol City)
One of the most impressive transformations this season has been Reid's in the Championship. Prior to this campaign his best goal return was four. This season it sits at 20.
The 25-year-old has been pushed from an attacking midfield position into the front-line and has been a revelation. He has helped push Bristol City into contention
Out of contract
Mario Balotelli (Nice)
Super Mario and Rafa Benitez don't seem like a match made in heaven. The Spaniard wants his strikers to be disciplined and work for the collective. The Italian is very much an individualist, a maverick.
However, there is no question the forward has matured at Nice. He's been talked up for a return to the Premier League and only Edinson Cavani, Falcao and Florian Thauvin have scored more goals in Ligue 1 in the last two seasons.
Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Twenty eight goals in 38 matches, including three in the Champions League. Although there is a slight catch...