Alan Pardew has admitted Darren Bent and Loic Remy are on the shortlist of players to be the two new strikers he wants next season.
But the emphasis will be on quality rather than quantity, with the Newcastle United manager expecting a slimmed-down squad.
Director of football Joe Kinnear has been given the names of “four or five” forwards Pardew and Graham Carr have identified. Managers are usually understandably reluctant to talk about transfer targets, but Pardew confirmed reports of the club’s interest in both are correct.
“We do need two strikers,” he commented. “Last year I didn’t think there was enough competition in that area for a Premier League team.
“Both of those players are on our list. I make no bones about that. They are under contract at other clubs. It’s difficult, you have to be careful.
“It’s nice for our fans to hear names, but I don’t want to disrupt other clubs’ preparations. You have to be careful.
“We have a list of four or five strikers who will push (Papiss) Cisse, Shola (Ameobi), Adam Campbell and (Yohan) Gouffran because that will be important next season.”
The reason, perhaps, that Pardew is prepared to speak so openly about Bent and Remy is their clubs are keen to offload them.
Bent is one of a clutch of senior players sidelined by Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, and reportedly no longer training with the first team.
Villa are thought to have reduced their asking price for the 29-year-old to £6m – about a third of what they paid Sunderland for him in 2011 – in an attempt to get one of their highest earners off their wage bill.
Having been relegated to the Championship in the summer, Queens Park Rangers are in a similar position with Remy. The Frenchman joined them in preference to Newcastle in January.
But without the ridiculous demands of Europa League football to contend with, Pardew expects his squad to be
smaller next term. “James Perch, who’s been a brilliant servant for us, has left (for Wigan Athletic),” he noted.
“It comes to a point where some players want to play every week and Perchy was one of those.
“I couldn’t guarantee that to him. We could cope with him leaving and I think there’ll be one or two others as well who are in that position where they need to go and play now. Dan Gosling springs to mind.
“I think there will be one or two that will leave the club who I don’t necessarily think we need to replace.
“But we’ve got weaknesses in the squad that I think we do (need to address).”
Ameobi could be another, although the striker’s position is far from clear after Pardew hinted at the end of last season he may ask to leave.
“He’s got a year left on his contract so we’re in a position where he could stay for the year and look for a new contract here or he could look elsewhere,” he explained.
“I’m open-minded about that but at the minute I’m not because I don’t have enough strikers.
“His position will be determined by the transfers that come in.”
Like Ameobi, Remy – and to a much greater extent – Bent have a quality Pardew is keen too add this season, namely Premier League experience. Pardew worked with Bent with Charlton Athletic when they were in the top flight and has remained a great admirer since.
“I still maintan what I said last year, that the team lacks a little bit of experience,” he said.
“With it being a World Cup year (in 2014) I think we’ve got 10, 12 players with a chance of going to the World Cup so it’s a big, big year for them and it’s a big season for Newcastle. I think we’ve got a great squad as it is but it does need strengthening, especially in the striker department.”