The transfer policy question PIF need to be asking at Newcastle United with club set to sign striker before Watford

The clock is ticking for Newcastle United to bring a striker in before Saturday’s crucial Premier League match against Watford at St James’s Park.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:22 am

The Magpies sit two points below The Hornets in the table and could potentially move out of the relegation zone with three points this weekend.

As it stands, they’re heading into the match without a recognised senior striker with top-scorer Callum Wilson out for eight weeks with a calf injury and Dwight Gayle absent from the FA Cup third round defeat against Cambridge United.

Gayle could be passed fit in time for the match but Newcastle are understood to be keen to bring in at least one other striker before the weekend.

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That man looks to be Burnley striker Chris Wood, who is understood to be set for a medical.

The club are also in talks with Ligue 1 side Reims over a potential £30million move for 19-year-old striker Hugo Ekitike.

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Striker names are being thrown around left, right and centre at the moment. Patrik Schik may get mouths watering but rumours won’t help Newcastle – signings will – and they need at least one through the door by Friday.

Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 03, 2021 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

But as we head into Wednesday, Newcastle’s chances of agreeing a deal for a player and registering them in time for Friday’s noon deadline to allow them to feature against The Hornets are growing increasingly slim.

The momentum built up during the first week of the window with the signing of Kieran Trippier has petered out and the frustration is growing.

Newcastle need two strikers in this month, who those are remains to be seen.

Anyone turning their nose up at rumoured move for Wood just need to look at the league table. Newcastle’s transfer policy this month should be based around one thing and one thing only, staying in the Premier League.

Reims's forward Hugo Ekitike celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and FC Nantes at Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims, northern France on September 26, 2021. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP) (Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

With every transfer target, ask the question, will this player improve our chances of staying up? For Trippier, it’s a resounding yes.

For Wood – a striker who has notched double figures in each of his last four full Premier League campaigns – the answer is the same.

The 30-year-old is currently an injury doubt but his departure would weaken Burnley and provide Newcastle with an attacking focal point they so desperately need in Wilson’s absence. It’s not the most glamorous of signings but Newcastle don’t need glamour, they need points.

This is why loan moves would also make sense this month. They can be completed with less fuss and potentially provide the short term fix Newcastle need to stay up.

Ekitike would be an idealist signing. One for the future when Newcastle don’t even know what division they’ll be playing in next season.

Placing the responsibility of scoring goals to keep a side in the Premier League on the shoulders of an unproven teenager is incredibly risky – he ideally needs some experience alongside him.

In their current situation, Ekitike or any top-flight quality striker would improve United’s chances of survival. They may be the richest club in world football, but they can’t afford to be picky.

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