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Pardew wants strikers and this reported target has better stats than Mandzukic

St James Park

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has spoken of the difficulty of signing strikers, but one front-man is proving an ideal target during this World Cup.

The Newcastle United boss has already recruited Ayoze Perez to bolster his front line but admits adding further forwards is proving a tough task.

Pardew will be without Loic Remy this season, the man who spent last term on loan at St James' Park from QPR and finished Newcastle's top scorer by a distance, and has revealed that a new frontman is a top priority.

One striker who could help the Magpies is reported target Enner Valencia, though Pardew says no deals look likely for the time being.

"The key signings, the strikers, are obviously the toughest ones to get over the line," the 52-year-old told the Sunderland Echo. "They kind of hedge their bets a little bit and we have got a little bit of that going on.

"They will all start securing up when pre-season is back in swing and they are focused on clubs. That’s when we start to see real activity.

"We’re doing everything we can at the moment to be in the loop with the ones that we want to be in the loop with. Hopefully, we will get the signings we want."

When the hunting period truly begins, however, Ecuador man Valencia may be a man worth pursuing for the Magpies, especially if his World Cup stats are anything to go by.

  TeamShots per GoalSuccessful DribblesTouchesSuccessful Final-Third PassesApps
Miroslav Klose Germany 2.00 0 7 1 1
Mario Mandzukic Croatia 2.00 0 32 6 1
Oribe Peralta Mexico 2.00 1 57 12 2
Luis Suarez Uruguay 2.00 0 51 7 1
Marcos Ureña Costa Rica 2.00 0 15 3 2
Enner Valencia Ecuador 2.00 5 83 19 2
Thomas Müller Germany 1.67 0 80 19 2
Memphis Depay Netherlands 1.00 2 38 7 1
Alexander Kerzhakov Russia 1.00 0 7 3 1
Lee Keun-Ho South Korea 1.00 0 20 5 1

For any striker, accuracy is key, and Opta data shows that Valencia's accuracy has only been bettered by four other forwards so far in Brazil, one of which is Germany's Thomas Muller.

With three to his name, the 24-year-old has scored all of Ecuador's goals, needing only six shots to do so. That strike-rate is the same as Luis Suarez's after one game, as well as Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic.

What sets Valencia apart from the rest of the field, though, is his willingness to get involved outside the box. With five successful dribbles to his name, the Ecuador man has blitzed the field - although Suarez and Mandzukic have only played once. Still, though, Valencia has completed as many final-third passes as Muller - and taken more touches than the German.

The stats paint a healthy picture, then. But, as Pardew says, it will be a tough process to land any striker, so Newcastle will be forced to work if they want Valencia's signature.

The Ecuador international has been linked with both Tottenham and Everton and should see his value increase if he continues to find the target at the World Cup.

Spurs are reportedly leading the chase for the 24-year-old - but will Mike Ashley and Pardew be able to push the north London side in the battle for Valencia's signature?

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