This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Steve Bruce made a frankly ridiculous claim about Newcastle’s depth at the striker position this weekend, but it could be a blessing in disguise for one Magpies youngster.
After the Toon Army swiftly dispatched St-Etienne at St. James’ Park on Saturday, Bruce was quizzed over the club’s transfer activity.
With Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon both leaving the club this summer, it would have been fair to assume that more than one striker would arrive, but Bruce appeared to confirm that Joelinton will be the only new front man on Tyneside this season.
“We are okay for strikers, okay in that department,” he said. “I have got five there.
“I want to keep Dwight Gayle and as I keep saying, you are only as good as your strikers. Gayle has always been part of my plans.”
While the news that Gayle, who has racked up 53 league goals in the last three seasons, is set to stay is surely music to the ears of fans, Bruce is making a massive blunder in not wanting more depth.
Outside of Joelinton and Gayle, Yoshinori Muto is the only other “striker” in the squad, but the Japan international has only played as a conventional front man in 85 of his 151 career appearances, so he is more of a versatile forward than a traditional number nine.
One then has to assume that Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin are the other two players Bruce is referring to, but they would be wasted through the middle, and their speed and dribbling ability means they should spend the entire campaign on the flanks.
With that in mind, there could be increased opportunities for Elias Sorensen, who is yet to take the pitch for the senior side, but has racked up an impressive 31 goals and eight assists in 60 games for the Magpies youth teams.
The young Dane is quick, makes intelligent runs and most importantly he knows how to stick the ball in the back of the net, and Bruce’s misguided decision to enter the season with just two actual strikers and utility man Muto could be a blessing in disguise.
Just one injury to the trio of options could see the 19 year-old sneak a few appearances from the bench, and the player fans have been desperate to see in action for quite some time could finally make a real impact for the first-team.