Newcastle's 10 goals conceded is very impressive, but they have also scored just 10 times, and only six clubs have been less effective in front of goal. It's clear Newcastle need a striker, their top scorers are Joselu and Jamal Lascelles, who have a grand total of 2 goals each.
But who could they buy? Rafa Benitez has been linked with with a host of strikers, including a reunion with Fernando Torres and picking up Athletic Club's young prospect Gorka Guruzeta. But are these good choices for Newcastle? Or could there be another forward who better suits the Magpies' style of play? Well firstly, what is that style?
Alright Newcastle have only scored 10 goals, 13th in the league, but they've taken 145 shots which is 8th in the league. So they can create chances. 110 of their 145 shots and 7 of their 10 goals have come from open play, so they're not a side that relies on set-pieces. None of their shots have come on the fastbreak.
54% of their shots have come from range, which is less than ideal. Getting it above 60% is ideal for the best chance of consistency, but it is what it is. The Magpies also send in 2016 crosses, which is 8th in the league, but only 37 of them find their target which is a shocking 17th.
What Newcastle thus need is a striker who can score goals from open play, without relying on being in space on the fastbreak. They specifically need the kind of target man that could turn Newcastle's thusfar aimless crosses into dangerous goalscoring chances.
So who fits this mould? The answer is Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga. There are other forwards, Richarlison of Watford for instance, or Nottingham Forest's Daryl Murphy. But Murphy is 32 and past his best, whilst there's no chance Watford would countenance selling their Brazilian.
This leaves Assombalonga as the obvious choice. The Congolese striker is 24, so coming into his physical prime. Thus far this season he's taken 37 shots and scored 8 goals (a respectable conversion of 22%). 30 of his shots have come from in the box and 11 of those shots came from headers, four of which were goals.
That's half his goal total coming with his head. Despite his average height, Assombalonga is an imposing presence in the air, at least when it comes to attacking crosses in the box - and that's all that matters to Newcastle United.
Assombalonga would be a (relatively) inexpensive forward who knows how to play in England and would provide the Magpies with the target man they need.
Whether or not Middlesbrough would be inclined to sell their star striker to local rivals Newcastle is another matter; Boro would be well within their rights to dig in their heels and refuse, but money talks and the lure of Premier League football could be too much for Assombalonga to turn down.
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