Newcastle United’s penchant for purchasing diamonds-in-the-rough has been well-documented in the past couple of years, with stars like Ayoze Perez brought to the club with little or no fanfare before going on to impress in the Premier League.
With those behind the scenes at St James’ Park keen to bring in low-cost talent to be turned over at profit – as players like Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy have previously demonstrated – few eyebrows were raised by the news, over the summer, that the club was gunning for Jonathan Soriano.
A prolific goalscorer throughout his time in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg, the 29-year-old was the top scorer in last season’s Europa League continued to demonstrate his fine eye for goal during a thrilling 2-2 draw with Celtic early in this year’s edition of the tournament.
But with the January transfer window fast approaching and Salzburg already in the knockout phase of the competition and aiming to go all the way, it could be time to look to another European hotshot who has already made an untimely exit from the competition.
Stefanos Athanasiadis may not be a household name in this country but to Greek Super League leaders PAOK he’s already something of a legend.
A key factor behind their assault on the league, the 25-year-old’s goals have kept the club just ahead of the traditionally dominant Olympiakos.
Scorer of eight in just nine league outings so far this term, Athanasiadis has been arguably even more impressive in Europe, scoring seven in eight games for the Thessaloniki club to bring his total to 15 in 19 games.
Four years younger than Soriano and already capped at international level for Greece, the PAOK academy product is a quick, yet powerful presence, capable of in an attacking or left-sided midfield role as well as an out-and-out striker.
An excellent passer and provider of goals for his teammates, Athanasiadis had looked on course to claim the Golden Boot in the Europa League until PAOK’s early exit.
Beaten 2-1 at home by Guingamp in a game they had to win in order to progress, the 25-year-old performed admirably again, scoring an equaliser that gave the Greek side hope until a late winner from their French opponents.
And with the January transfer window fast approaching, Newcastle could do worse than take a closer look at this bright young striker, who is valued at around £4 million by transfermarkt but could go for much more.
However with Newcastle chasing European qualification next season, it could prove to be money well spent.