United’s January transfer hit-list will be headed by Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason, who was proposed as a potential forward target during their ill-fated attempts to land reinforcements during the summer
With the dust still settling on their frustrated efforts to bring in another striker to supplement their preferred partnership of Papiss Cisse and Loic Remy, the United hierarchy have battened down the hatches amid fierce criticism of their recruitment efforts over the close season.
Alan Pardew’s only public utterance has been a club-sanctioned statement on Tuesday afternoon, while Joe Kinnear is understood to be out of the country, having been advised by Newcastle bosses not to speak in detail about their efforts over the summer.
Despite all of this Mike Ashley has passed down the instruction to continue scouting efforts with a renewed focus on January, when the club have always believed there are better bargains to be had.
While this line of thinking is likely to be met with understandable cynicism by supporters disappointed at the way the club failed to deliver the reinforcements that were talked up by Pardew and Kinnear, it is a reflection of the owner’s thinking when it comes to the transfer market.
It is also a sign that there is little prospect of Ashley selling up – despite supporter groups talking of upping the pressure on the club’s unpopular owner.
The Journal understands the club’s scouting efforts have begun in earnest this weekend, with Newcastle talent-spotters stationed at matches all over Europe during the international break. They will be paying particular attention to Finnbogason, the 24-year-old Iceland international, who was offered to Newcastle during the summer window for a fee of around £5m.
United opted to look at other targets during the summer but his prolific scoring record has elevated him up the list of striker targets assembled by the club’s scouting team.
And the club were in attendance as Switzerland took on Iceland in a crucial World Cup qualifier last night.
Newcastle are also drawing up a list of talented, domestic-based players under the age of 21 – with an eye on recruiting them at the turn of the year.
Blackpool’s Tom Ince will be another priority target in January, with the club looking to exploit his contract situation if they can move one of their higher earners off the books in January.
In the meantime, United will continue with the strikers they already have – and boss Alan Pardew has backed Yoan Gouffran to shine.
“Gouffran, we felt, really pushed on when he got in the team last season. It will be interesting to see how he does this season,” Pardew said. “He is a really terrific lad, a wholehearted player, and someone our fans do already appreciate. I think he’s like Peter Lovenkrands in that he’ll give you absolutely everything. He will run all day and night for the team. His attitude is fantastic.
“I think our supporters appreciate those type of players. So it will be interesting to see how he does this year.”