Who?25 year old Frenchman currently cracking them in for Ligue 1's Montpellier. Devastatingly handsome, well over 6 foot tall, and just added a full international cap to his growing list of achievements. Made his top flight debut a mere 18 months ago when he signed from Tours for a partly €2.5million, where he'd only actually been for a year, still playing mostly amateur football until he was 23.
How Much? £8-£14million.
Why? Because he's a brilliant footballer. Tall, strong, and powerful, yet with the sort of elegance, vision and deftness of touch that's seen his compatriot Yohan Cabaye so warmly embraced by the Premier League. Excelling in bringing others into the attack, yet still averaging a goal almost every other game, he's almost the perfect centre-forward for the modern game.
He also fits the St James' Direct mantra of buying players well before they hit their peak value. £10 million+ may seem like a lot now, but for a player who may well become a mainstay in the French national side, and harbours Champions League ambitions, he'll still hold exponential resale value.
Why Not? Scoring goals in Ligue 1 isn't the same as scoring goals in the Premier League. I've never subscribed to the Sky endorsed “best league in the world” soundbite, but there's a vast difference in the prevailing playing styles (especially the attitudes to defending) across the Channel. While there'll be no issue with the added physicality the switch will bring, he'd have to learn when to reign in his natural flamboyance, and replace it with a subtle forearm to Robert Huth's sternum.
Likelihood? There's reported interest in the deal from both sides, but Montpellier are pushing high up the French league and will probably want to wait until Summer before considering any potential outgoings. Spurs and Arsenal have also been credited with an interest. 7/10
I've never subscribed to the Sky endorsed “best league in the world” soundbite, but there's a vast difference in the prevailing playing styles across the Channel.
Who?Faux-jock centre forward who's dragged Huddersfield Town kicking and screaming up League 1 since he signed in 2009. Still only 21 and already capped at international level after turning his back on his glorious mother-land to play for Scotland instead of England.
How Much? £3-£5 million
Why? A deadly finisher and old fashioned fox-in-the-box type who's grabbed a goal about once every 130 minutes this season. Bags upon bags upon bags of potential, and would add something different to a strike force that, currently consisting of Monsieurs Best, Ba, Lovenkrands and Ameobi, looks like a 2048 JLS reunion. Comes recommended by Clarkie as well, which is more than good enough for me.
Why Not? Lacks a little pit of pace and power, but at 21 there's no reason why he won't develop it. Having just found himself the centre of one particular universe, he might not like having to play second fiddle or adapt to a new playing style. Would make a lovely option from the bench, but unlikely he'd fancy that role.
Likelihood? As with Giroud at Montpellier, Huddersfield are riding the crest of a wave at the top of their league and will be desperate to avoid any unnecessary departures. However, they're not in a position to turn down Premier League money and with Lee Clark at the helm, he'd probably rather see his prize possession end up at Newcastle than anywhere else. 6/10
Luuk De Jong
Who?Aspiring dutch world-beater who can play virtually anywhere in the final third of the pitch. Will undoubtedly move on from his current club FC Twente in the near future, and for considerably more than the €500,000 they paid for him. Capped by Holland, supposedly good pals with Tim Krul, and with the sort of future ahead of him that's normally cruelly ripped away in Channel 5 daytime movies, it's a move that would turn a few heads across Europe.
How Much? £8-£10million
Why? He's an archetypal Dutch attacker. Blessed with a ferocious turn of pace, competent on either foot, agile, skilful and much better in the air that his modest height suggests, he could well develop into one of the most feared forwards in Europe. Given his positional flexibility (he's played up-front on his own, as a second striker, wide right and wide left) he'd only bring a tremendous plan B to a side that's looked a little short on ideas this season.
Why Not? As much as it pains me to say this, he's probably got his sights set considerably higher than Newcastle United. A move here would, at best, be seen as a stepping stone in his career. Although that seems to be the very mantra Ashley and co have given to the transfer policy, he may still be slightly out of their reach.
Mike Ashley's a businessman, and if he thinks there's any way he can knock a couple of quid of the asking price he wouldn't hesitate.
Who? Who indeed. Currently employed by Conference South's Hampton and Richmond, 17 year old Dan Thompson is a name virtually none of you will be familiar with. Initially agreeing terms with Portsmouth, for whatever reason that deal has fallen through and it's thought that Pardew has been quick to mobilise on it.
How Much? Nominal fee + possible compensation.
Why? Very little is known about the lad, in fact he's only scored a handful of goals at senior level so far, but he's done enough to raise eyebrows at a host of Premier League clubs and terms like “the next Les Ferdinand” are being thrown around in the scouting world. Would definitely be one for the future, but this is a scouting network that's pulled Haris Vučkić, Mehdi Abied and Tim Krul from similar circumstances, so perhaps a little faith is warranted.
Why Not? Well, he's as unproven as they come and his ability will develop just as unpredictably as his attitude. Pinching a lad as young as that and moving them to the complete other end of the country seldom works out as well as is hoped and for every Vučkić, Abied and Krul there's been a Xisco, Kadar or Ranger.
Who? The lad I mentioned at the top of the article? The one Newcastle actually had a bid accepted for but he failed his medical? No? Keep up yeah. Mali international, 24 years old, currently playing for Sochaux. Apparently too crocked to complete a move to us just last week.
How Much? £6million or less
Why? Well, much has been written about Maiga's abilities, from his 30 goal partnership with Ideye Brown, right up to his now botched transfer to the Premier League, so I won't retread the ground. Suffice to say, he's quick, powerful, can score goals, set them up, and was demonstrably our number 1 target this time last week. All that's off now though. Or is it? Excuse my cynicism, but for Newcastle United to be concluding a deal well before a transfer deadline was shocking enough, but for it then to fall through under slightly iffy circumstances was quite another. Let's not forget, Mike Ashley's a businessman, and if he thinks there's any way he can knock a couple of quid of the asking price (i.e. claiming “damaged goods”) he wouldn't hesitate.
Why Not? He might actually be fucked. Or we're saving the money for a centre-half.
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