Manager Steve McClaren admits his Newcastle United side are lacking goals, as he seeks a new striker during the January transfer window.
The Magpies are facing a battle to retain their place in the Premier League this season, and currently sit in the relegation places and two points from safety. Only rock bottom Aston Villa (15), fourth-bottom Swansea City (16) and West Bromwich Albion (18) in 13th have registered fewer goals than the North East giants, who have scored 19 times in as many games thus far.
Summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum leads the way for McClaren’s side with seven goals, but fellow newcomer Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was signed to score goals, has scored just three times. Their cause also hasn’t been helped with injuries to Papiss Cisse and Emmanuel Riviere, leaving Spanish youngster Ayoze Perez as their leading frontman with four goals to his name.
Speaking ahead of their first game of the calendar year, against current league leaders Arsenal, McClaren was asked if he could understand the desperation of the fans who are eager to find out his transfer plans. The former England coach responded: “I think I’ve said enough to say that we do need more goals and that we’re working behind the scenes to address that.”
During the summer Newcastle were heavily linked with Charlie Austin, who scored 18 times for a Queens Park Rangers side which were relegated from the top-flight. At the time the Magpies felt his £15million valuation was too high, but as the 26-year-old continues to prove his quality – he has 10 goals in 16 Championship matches – a fresh approach may well be on the cards.
If McClaren decides to renew his interest in Austin, he would look to pay less than what he was quoted last time round as the England international is now in the final six months of his contract. However, it is almost certain that there will be more interest in his signature, with fellow strugglers Aston Villa and Sunderland already linked with a move for the former Burnley man.
Meanwhile, Kenny Jackett has confirmed he wants to bring Mike Williamson back to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 32-year-old played five times for the Championship side between October and November before being recalled to cover the Magpies defensive problems, but he has yet to feature for his parent club since due to picking up a hamstring injury himself.
“It is early days and there are no conclusions yet but there have been discussions,” Jackett told the official club website. “We were pleased with him on loan and he is someone we are interested in. Nothing has been concluded in terms of what Newcastle want to do and discussions are at an early stage. We would estimate he is still a fortnight away from full fitness.”