NEWCASTLE United will look to push through a deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after deciding against making a move for Andy Carroll.
The Magpies tried to sign the St Etienne striker in January.
However, they were unable to strike a deal, moving instead for Yoan Gouffran.
Aubameyang indicated earlier this year he is looking to move on this summer, and Newcastle are sure to try and resurrect a deal.
The stumbling block might be if Les Verts can qualify for the Champions League on Sunday.
Newcastle’s need for a new striker is even more pressing than when they first enquired about the 23-year-old.
Although others can play there, they currently only have two out-and-out centre-forwards at the club in Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi. Alan Pardew is bracing himself for the possibility Ameobi could ask for a move in the coming weeks. If he does, 12 months before the end of his contract, the Magpies are unlikely to stand in his way.
Even with Ameobi there was a heavy burden on Cisse’s shoulders in the second half of last season, once Senegalese compatriot Demba Ba left for Chelsea in early January.
Newcastle were fortunate Cisse did not pick up a serious injury.
Pardew had a meeting to discuss plans for the next 12 months with owner Mike Ashley, managing director Derek Llambias and chief scout Graham Carr yesterday.
One of the most important discussions will have been over the club’s unwritten policy of not signing over-25s, with manager Pardew keen to add more experience to a squad which as well as the question mark over Ameobi, will lose Steve Harper and could have to
do without captain Fabricio Coloccini too. What has been decided is they will not make a bid for Gateshead-born striker Carroll.
The England international and his boyhood club have harboured hopes of a reunion almost from the moment the striker joined Liverpool for £35m in January 2011, but it seems hard financial reality has triumphed over sentiment.
West Ham United agreed a £15m fee on Tuesday to make Carroll’s season-long loan permanent and although a 25% sell-on clause would have allowed them to effectively match the Hammers’ offer while undercutting them, the overall package was too expensive to tempt them.
Newcastle hope to sign Aubameyang for £10m, and almost certainly less wages too. Carroll (below) is thought to be willing to take a cut on the £80,000 a week he earns at Anfield, but almost certainly not enough to make him the cheaper option.
Carroll also has a heel injury which as well as ruling him out of England’s summer friendlies against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland, could even delay his involvement next season.
Aubameyang scored 19 goals for League Cup winners St Etienne last season, his best return, and can play wide in the manner of Gouffran (Aubameyang favours the right, Gouffran the left), as well as down the middle, giving Pardew more tactical options.
A host of clubs from a wide spread of countries – perhaps alerted by the interest of renowned cross-Channel talent-spotter Carr – have shown an interest in the Gabon international, but Newcastle will be hoping their excellent reputation in France and the preponderance of French-speaking players in their squad put them at an advantage.
A St Etienne victory in the final round of Ligue 1 matches could yet take them into next season’s Champions League, although it would have to coincide with a defeat for Lyon at Ajaccio. St Etienne are at Sochaux. Neither home team has anything to play for.
Meanwhile, Lazio are the latest club linked with Douglas, a potential target if Coloccini does engineer a move back to Argentina.
Newcastle were keen on the central defender in August, but Inter Milan and Liverpool are also interested in the Brazilian-born Netherlands international. The 25-year-old is out of contract at FC Twente this summer.