Outcome of striker chase could define Newcastle's summer business

Rafael Benitez the manager of Newcastle United looks on during a pre-season friendly match between Preston North End and Newcastle United at Deepdale on July 22, 2017 in Preston, England.

While Mikel Merino is to become Newcastle United's fifth summer signing, their most important recruit - up front - should be yet to come.

Newcastle United have built from the back this summer as they prepare for a return to the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez has reinforced the defence with Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo, while Mikel Merino - set to sign according to the Chronicle - adds a disciplined option in midfield.

Mikel Merino of Dortmund challenges Douglas Costa of Bayern Muenchen during the Bundesliga match between Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena on April 8, 2017 in Munich,...

Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy have also arrived on the wing, but it has long felt like Newcastle's transfer business has been building towards a late move for a forward.

Indeed, Daryl Murphy has departed - leaving just Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic as senior options - and the Chronicle reports that Benitez is keen to bring in a new front man.

Newcastle were blunt in their last top flight campaign and, while Gayle arrived in the Championship and scored regularly, the squad again looks short of options in attack.

The Magpies will hope Gayle can make the step up, but his injury record was poor in the second half of last season and the club cannot be solely reliant on his goals.

Although moves for the likes of Lejeune, Merino and Murphy are exciting at a reasonable cost, Newcastle may have to go big on a fee or wages to secure a man who can guarantee goals in the top flight.

Michy Batshuayi has been mooted by the Chronicle as a loan option; a signing of his ilk would make this a successful window, but Newcastle cannot afford to be left short.

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi (R) celebrates after scoring against Arsenal during their pre-season friendly football match at Beijing's National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, on July 22,...

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