Sunderland

Striker Fever Mounts

Regarded as a hot prospect amongst Norwegian football coaches, 19-year-old striker Marcus Pedersen is attracting some serious interest from newly promoted Newcastle United as well as rivals Sunderland and a host of other European clubs.

Playing at the tip of Norwegian’s Tippeligaen side Stromsgodset’s 4-3-3, Pedersen has impressed English scouts with his tenacity and work-rate – a popular attribute amongst strikers playing as a ‘fake nine’ in modern systems – not to mention the fact that even though he is still in his embryonic years, the right-footed forward has scored five goals in nine appearances this season in Norway’s top-flight.

He’s also got a marvellous record for the various Norwegian youth sides: 7 goals in 10 at under-16 level, 4 goals in 7 at under-17, and 3 in 4 for the under-21 side.

Even so, it would be a risky strategy if Chris Hughton were to spend money on such a young and inexperienced centre-forward at this particular juncture. The prospect could even be regarded as a superfluous one when you consider that Newcastle’s primary motive this season is simply to retain their Premiership status. They’ll require established quality players rather than ‘something for the future’.

However, once again, Mike Ashley’s tendency to buy young and cheap will have a telling influence on the options available to manager Hughton’s come the start of the season. Having purchased 17-year-old Slovenian midfielder Haris Vuckic, Faroe Isles youngster Joan Edmundsson, and 19-year-old goalkeeper Ole Soderberg within the past year, a Toon swoop for Marcus Pedersen shouldn’t be regarded as beyond the realms of possibility.

Still, Newcastle will have stiff competition for the Stromsgodset striker which may just deter Ashley from his pursuit. Along with Sunderland, Blackburn, Bolton, Fulham, Borussia Monchendgladbach, Auxerre, FC Twente and Anderlecht are all rumoured to be eyeing the Hamar-born starlet.

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