Newcastle United need to score more goals if they are to push on and achieve a European place next season, that much is for certain.
Rafa Benitez’s men netted just 39 goals in their 38 Premier League games in 2017/18, which is the eighth-worst record in the division.
They had their tight defence to thank for securing them a tenth-place finish at the end of the season, but improving upon that will be impossible if the goals do not come more freely at the other end.
Current strikers Dwight Gayle, Joselu and Aleksandar Mitrovic do not cut it at the required level, and there needs to be a rethink up front this summer.
One option, and one that will certainly interest many fans, is right under the club’s noses.
Young striker Adam Armstrong has confirmed that he is heading back to Tyneside after a successful spell on loan at Blackburn Rovers.
As quoted by Blackburn’s official Twitter account, he said: “From the minute I joined Rovers, it’s been a great experience. I’ll head back to Newcastle for pre-season and then we will see what the plan is there.”
The 21-year-old scored nine times in 21 appearances for the Rovers as they achieved promotion back to the Championship, with his goals playing a big part in their successful season.
Armstrong is yet to be given a real chance at St. James’ Park despite being touted as one of the club’s most promising young players for several years now.
The 5ft 8in striker has performed well at every other club he has played for, and surely deserves a chance to prove himself at his boyhood club.
Critics will say his goals have come in a poor division, but he has done all that has been asked of him on loan, and he must be handed a first-team squad place next season.
This is not to say he is the answer to Newcastle’s issues up front, but he should at least be given an opportunity to make an impact on the first-team in the Premier League.
His versatility, being able to play on both wings as well as up front, mean he would be a brilliant squad player, and he would not count against their squad numbers being homegrown.
It is a no-brainer for Benitez, and he must recognise that this summer.