Newcastle United have been quoted £16million for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette after an initial inquiry with the Ligue 1 side.
United have already secured the signature of top target Remy Cabella after coming to an agreement with Montpellier on Friday; owner Laurent Niccolin having confirmed that a deal is in place in recent days. Lee Charnley jetted out to Marseille with the contract on Saturday and an unveiling has already pencilled in.
Now United will move on to striker targets, but the Lacazette chase now looks fraught. The Magpies identified the 23-year-old France striker (right) as one of their priority targets for the close season, but Lyon have set a high price for a player whose contract runs until 2016.
Whether they follow up their interest after Lacazette’s club indicated an unwillingness to sell remains to be seen, but sources in France have subsequently confirmed their interest in Monaco’s Emmanuel Riviere.
Newcastle have a sizeable transfer budget over the close season but the majority of their targets are in the final year of their contracts, thus ensuring the club get maximum value from new recruits. A price tag of £16m would seem to rule Lacazette out of the black and white running.
Lacazette is a long-term target and whether a move is made this summer or not, United will continue to monitor his availability. As they have illustrated with Siem de Jong and Papiss Cisse in the past, Newcastle appear to operate best when the player is either approaching or in the final year of his contract.
But that does not solve the desperate need for attacking reinforcements this summer, with Newcastle’s top brass fully aware that they need at least two senior strikers to make the most of the impressive signing of de Jong and Cabella.
The Magpies have also been heavily linked with 24-year-old striker Riviere, who has scored 14 goals in 40 games for Monaco.
Given the way he has operated at Monaco he would fulfil the target man role that Newcastle have never truly filled since the departure of Demba Ba. United utilised Shola Amoebi at times last season but his strike-rate was a problem for a club that simply did not score enough goals in the second half of the campaign.
Newcastle have re-initiated contact with Loic Remy’s representatives as they monitor developments in his protracted move to Arsenal, and Ba’s name has again been mentioned.
But United need to move quickly to bring in striking cover, and face heading to Oldham tomorrow with only Adam Armstrong, Adam Campbell and Yoan Gouffran as the recognised fit specialised strikers in the squad.
Cisse is making swift progress on his road back to fitness but is not expected to be ready to play much of a part in pre-season. That leaves Newcastle looking for targets where they can make quick progress. Manager Alan Pardew referred to De Jong as a “striker” in interviews after the Holland international signed. But despite those comments, the club are still looking for a pair of strikers to ensure there is no repeat of the problems that ravaged the second half of last season.
They had originally hoped to strike a deal for Luuk de Jong in the early part of the summer to fill one of those slots but after his ordinary loan spell at St James’ Park he is now heading to PSV Eindhoven.
It says it all about his falling stock that he has returned to the Eredivisie for half the price originally quoted to Newcastle, who opted not to move for him.