A number of Newcastle's summer signings have failed to hit the mark in more ways than one, but the answer may lie in Serbia.
Newcastle United have only scored 18 goals in 16 games this season, and for a team that bought four attacking players in the summer, that return is just not good enough.
Even though he has only started five league games, Papiss Cisse is Alan Pardew’s top scorer with seven. Ayoze Perez has been in form over the last few months. He scored three goals in three games, but has only managed one in Newcastle’s last six fixtures.
Outside of that duo, no one at the club has scored more than one league goal. French newspaper L’Equipe this morning linked Lille with a move for 24-year-old striker Petar Skuletic. There is known to be interest from Premier League clubs, but if Newcastle are looking for another striker this January, Skuletic could be the perfect solution.
The Serbian stands at 192cm tall, he is big, strong and powerful, but is also a predator in the box. This season he has scored 14 goals in just 15 games and last season he scored seven in 13 when he made his move to Partizan Belgrade.
Skuletic was part of the Partizan team that lost narrowly 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at the end of November. The big target man had a great chance to score for the away side, but his header went just wide.
No doubt that would have alerted Premier League clubs to his ability. Lille have apparently been monitoring the striker this season, sending scouts to watch him on numerous occasions.
The French club have struggled for goals and have also been linked with a move for Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore, but his wage demands are likely to stop any move in January.
It is believed that Partizan would be willing to sell the striker for around €3 or €4 million, which in Premier League terms would be a bargain for a player at that age, with his goal-scoring record.
With Emmanuel Riviere failing to adjust to life in the Premier League and Remy Cabella struggling physically in England, bringing in a 6 foot 3 centre forward to add some steel to the Newcastle attack, may just be the answer to some of Pardew’s problems.