Winning race for Plea could transform Newcastle’s season

Newcastle are one of a number of teams chasing Nice striker Alassane Plea, and the Magpies must do everything they can to win the race for the electric Frenchman.

What’s the story?

According to Sky Sports, West Ham have tabled a bid for Plea, but Newcastle, Fulham and Tottenham are all in the hunt as well.

The Hammers are of course looking for more attacking impetus after the injury to Manuel Lanzini, and Manuel Pellegrini has identified Plea as a player who can add pace and goals to his side.

Nice are understood to want €30m (£26.6m) for the 25 year-old, who scored 21 goals in all competitions last season, including four in European competition.

Valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, the Frenchman plays mostly as a centre forward, but can operate on either wing if required.

Rafael Benitez is desperate for a marquee striker signing this summer, and beating three Premier League rivals to Plea’s signature would be a massive statement of intent from the Magpies.

How could it happen?

The first question is how can Newcastle win the race for the 25 year-old striker? Well, Fulham are chasing a deal for Aleksandar Mitrovic, which would take them out of the equation, and Tottenham would not be able to offer him a starting position.

That just leaves West Ham and Newcastle, and Mike Ashley simply must get his chequebook out and give Benitez the backing he so desperately needs.

Plea is not the perfect striker, but at 25 he is ready to hit his prime and improve even further on a fantastic season in France. Quite simply, he is the right man to break the Magpies’ long-standing transfer record for.

What’s all the fuss about?

Across 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season, the Frenchman grabbed 16 goals and five assists, and his confidence is at an all time high, firing in over three shots per game.

He is not a target man, but he is deceptively strong, able to use his excellent close control and low centre of gravity to keep hold of the ball in crowded areas.

Fans have likened his dribbling style to Anthony Martial and Loic Remy, and he averaged nearly two successful dribbles per game last season, numbers that would be impressive even for a winger.

Plea also has superior link-up play to the likes of Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle, and he would help create chances for players like Kenedy, who fans are desperate to sign on a permanent basis.

In short, his direct dribbling will get fans off their seats, his link-up play will make the players around him better, and most importantly of all he just knows where the back of the net is.

So, Newcastle fans, should you spend £26.6m on Plea? Is he the striker Rafa needs? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…