The end of the transfer window is fast approaching yet Newcastle United remain without a new attacking addition, having thus far brought in three defensive-minded players to bolster Eddie Howe’s squad.
In need of a new face to pep up the forward line, one name that has been tipped to make a switch to St James’ Park is Stade Rennais striker, Gaetan Laborde, with reports suggesting that the Magpies – as well as Sevilla and Lille – could ‘go on the offensive’ to try and sign the 28-year-old.
The 5 foot 11 menace will likely cost in the region of €25m (£21m), having previously been linked with a move to the northeast side back in the winter window, prior to the club’s capture of Chris Wood from Burnley.
With that deal having since failed to work out – the £25m man scoring just twice for the Tynesiders thus far – it has heightened the need for a new centre-forward recruit, with Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie recently suggesting that the priority will be a new striker and a winger before the September deadline.
In Laborde, however, it could see Howe kill two birds with one stone, with the highly-rated “goal machine” – as dubbed by journalist Clement Carpentier – possessing the ability to also feature from the flanks.
The £16.2m-rated man has courted such interest due to his sparkling form in France of late, having netted 18 goals in just 45 games for the Ligue 1 outfit thus far, after previously scoring 39 goals and providing 20 assists in 118 games at former club Montpellier.
A dynamic, left-footed Frenchman who can operate all across the frontline, the £35k-per-week gem’s arrival would no doubt evoke memories of compatriot and former Newcastle icon, Hatem Ben Arfa.
The now-veteran enjoyed a brief period as the king of St James’ Park, emerging as a real cult figure due to his dazzling displays in the black and white jersey, having arrived in England on an initial loan deal from Marseille back in 2010.
Part of an influx of French talent at the club around that time, the fleet-footed forward made an instant impression in the Premier League, notably scoring five goals and recording six assists in 26 league games during the 2011/12 season, as Alan Pardew’s side secured a remarkable fifth-placed finish.
Although such form could not be maintained as the mercurial talent ultimately faded from view over the next few years – eventually departing for Nice in 2015 after a brief loan spell at Hull City – his off-the-cuff, instinctive genius ensured he remains a much-loved presence in Newcastle.
Supporters would, of course, no doubt jump at the chance of having a Ben Arfa-esque figure at the club again in the form of Laborde, with the hope being that the latter man can produce his own moments of magic for the Magpies.