Newcastle United supporters have been in pretty high spirits in the Transfer Tavern in recent times after seeing their side pick up two victories to kick off 2018, the latest of which a 3-1 success over Luton Town in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez’s men ended 2017 just a point and two places clear of the Premier League’s bottom three with 19 points from 21 matches, but they put some distance between themselves and those below the dotted line with a 1-0 success at Stoke City on January 2. And the Magpies eased through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday as a brace from Ayoze Perez as well as a Jonjo Shelvey strike was enough to see off Nathan Jones’ high-flying Hatters, with Danny Hylton’s second half strike not enough to inspire a comeback.
Consequently, there have been many delighted Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are considerably more optimistic now than they were at the turn of the year, with back-to-back successes in separate competitions giving them a bright outlook on the rest of the season.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Magpies supporters to get their teeth into, not least recent reports linking them with a move for Leicester City striker Islam Slimani.
The 29-year-old has been out of favour at the King Power Stadium this term and as such could be set for a move away this month, yet the Magpies should forget about a deal for the Algeria international, and instead look to land Everton forward Oumar Niasse.
And that’s because the Toffees frontman has proven his goal-scoring ability in the Premier League already, both with Everton and indeed Hull City, and his spell at the latter is crucial in underlining the influence he could have in a relegation battle.
Ultimately, things haven’t quite gone to plan for the 27-year-old in England, with former Toffees boss Ronald Koeman banishing him to the Everton Under-23s before loaning him out to Hull in the second half of last season.
And although the Tigers were unable to stay up, Niasse certainly did his bit with four goals and an assist in 17 league games, with all four goals contributing to victories – they will be the sort of goals Newcastle need as the season wears on.
And with five goals in just 11 appearances for Everton so far this season, the Senegal international continues to underline his credentials at Premier League level, while Slimani’s form in 2017 was sketchy to say the least, bagging just twice for the Foxes.
Such are Newcastle’s evident striking struggles, either man would likely go to St James’ Park and immediately become the club’s first-choice striker, but Niasse’s goal record at Everton and more significantly Hull suggests that he has the fight and attitude needed in a relegation battle – the jury is very much still out on Slimani.
As such, Benitez must forget Slimani and instead target a move for £7.2 million-rated Niasse (as per Transfermarkt) this month.
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