Newcastle being linked with several strikers this month indicates that it is an area of concern for Steve Bruce, but he must be careful to ensure that he brings in the right player.
Moussa Dembele and Cody Gakpo are potential targets as Bruce has so far been unable to get the best out of the forwards at his disposal, with the Premier League xG table indicating that it could be a problem of his tactics, which may mean that his defensive priority is the problem.
That table has Newcastle bottom of the Premier League, and since Jonjo Shelvey is the most creative outlet out of Newcastle’s regular starters with a mere 1.8 key passes per game it seems that the midfield isn’t doing enough in terms of creating chances.
However, the Magpies have relied on Joelinton and Andy Carroll for the vast majority of their games this season, with 21 and four league starts respectively, and those two share the same issue – a lack of mobility.
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Each has achieved an impressive number of aerial duels won, with Joelinton averaging five per game and Carroll 5.8, but they lack pace and ability to drive at opponents in order to put them on the back foot and gain territory for their side.
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Perhaps more importantly, he has averaged 1.7 successful dribbles per game throughout his career, which indicates the pace and trickery he possesses, and that would provide Bruce with another, very valuable option.
For starters, he would greatly enhance Newcastle’s ability on the counter-attack – one of their main avenues of goalscoring since they have achieved an average of 39% possession this term – and in linking up with the likes of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin there wouldn’t be a player slowing down the breakaway.
Jonjo Shelvey could also benefit from that factor. He often attempts to launch attacks from deep with 4.5 long balls per game, and having someone to aim for who may be more willing in run in behind the defence could transform the Newcastle attack.
The north-east outfit certainly need that since they have scored a pitiful 21 goals in 22 games, and even if Ekambi doesn’t make the switch the club should certainly be looking at players who share a similar skillset to the 27-year-old.
Meanwhile, Alan Nixon has issued a troubling transfer update that should be a cause of concern for Newcastle fans…