Jermaine Beckford – A gamble worth taking by Newcastle?

JermaineBeckfordJermaine Beckford is again being linked with a move to Newcastle United; the Leeds United striker is out of contract at the end of the season and may be available for a cut-price of £1.5million. Newcastle are in need of striking reinforcements as Marlon Harewood’s loan deal has expired and as they look to secure promotion, Beckford may be a wise purchase.

Newcastle’s fine start to the season has propelled them to the summit of the Championship and they are well-positioned for a promotion push. Recently however, their form has stuttered and West Brom have closed the gap to six points with a game in hand. Newcastle’s defence is rock solid but goals are a little harder to come by when Ameobi is not fit and the club is in the market for a goalscorer.

Chris Hughton is planning for the second half of the season but really he should also have one eye on the Premier League next season and bearing this in mind he must consider whether Beckford would have a role to play in that division. It is difficult enough for strikers to make the step up from the Championship; it would be a real gamble to expect a player from League One to hit the ground running in the Championship and then make the move to the Premier League. Beckford’s record with Leeds is exceptional with 73 goals in 127 appearances and he has all the attributes needed to be a success in the Championship: pace, power, finishing and skill. Whether these talents can be translated to the Premier League is another question; there are numerous players who have failed in the Premier League after excelling in the Championship. The likes of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Jason Scotland have struggled to break through the sturdier defences on show in the top-flight. In the Premier League chances are at a premium and whereas in the lower leagues profligacy is more acceptable, the players that make it at the top level are the ones that can snap up the few chances on offer.

Beckford would be a good signing for Newcastle in the short-term, but if they have serious ambitions to establish themselves in the Premier League they should consider whether it is wise to spend £1.5million on a player that may have no long-term future at the club. If Hughton feels that Beckford is good enough to compete at the top-level then he should take the gamble, but if he is just looking for a goalscorer to secure promotion then a loan move for another striker may be more prudent.