The Magpies started the season light in the attacking department, and many thought that the club should have made more of an attempt to sign another striker.
Ayoze Perez, Emmanuel Riviere and Siem de Jong all arrived at the club to bolster a front line consisting of Papiss Cisse and Yoan Gouffran, and it has been Perez who has really stood out. De Jong looked promising in pre-season before suffering an injury that still keeps him out of action, and Riviere, Cisse and Gouffran have all struggled to have an impact despite the Magpies improved form in recent weeks.
Perez has three goals in 11 games, having netted in three consecutive games against Spurs, Liverpool and West Brom and he was unlucky to not add to his tally at the weekend as he put in an impressive performance in the 1-0 victory over QPR.
Before his rise to prominence, it was heavily reported that the Tyneside club were scouting a number of forwards throughout Europe, with Luc Castaignos, Jonathan Soriano and Aleksandar Mitrovic all linked to the club, and hopes were raised that the Toon would be bringing in a further attacking option in the January transfer window.
However, as the club moved into the top five following their victory this weekend, manager Alan Pardew suggested that any interest had died down, with Perez filling the void evident at the start of the campaign. Speaking to the Chronicle, Pardew admitted that the squad were ‘a striker light’ at the start of the season, but he has benefited from Perez’s remarkable goalscoring tally.
“There’s definitely more depth to the squad,” the 53-year-old said. “I felt we were a striker light, I did.
“Perez has come to the fore for us. That’s been a real bonus.”
Despite the Spanish Under-21 international’s form in front of goal, he is hardly the all-powerful striker that Pardew has made him out to be in recent weeks. He looks weak playing as a lone striker, and he has a long way to go before he is good enough to be playing every week in a Premier League side chasing European qualification. Whilst he has filled a needed void in the opening months of the season, Pardew should certainly not be giving up his chase for another striker if he intends to see the Magpies continue the remarkable run they are currently enjoying.