It is safe to say that from a goalscoring capacity at centre forward, Newcastle got last summer all wrong. The Magpies brought Andy Carroll back to St James’ Park on a free transfer after his deal with West Ham United was not renewed, and the England international has failed to find the back of the net since returning to Tyneside.
Even more compounding evidence that Newcastle recruited poorly at striker comes in the form of Joelinton, who cost a club record £40m and mustered just two Premier League goals, with a 2,130 gap between the strikes.
The same mistakes cannot be made again this summer in the transfer window, and it appears the Magpies are learning from last seasons’ disastrous business by reportedly focusing recruitment on Brentford’s Ollie Watkins.
The 24-year-old was incredibly prolific for the Bees in the second-tier last term, sharing the Championship Golden Boot with former Newcastle striker Aleksander Mitrovic, having found the back of the net on 26 occasions. Furthermore, Watkins notched three assists, meaning no Championship player was involved in more goals than the 24-year-old’s 29 last season.
Brentford have become an established steppingstone to the Premier League in recent years, and Neil Maupay made the leap up a division by joining Brighton and Hove Albion in 2019. The Frenchman went on to score ten goals for the Seagulls, double the total of Leandro Trossard, their second-highest scorer.
Furthermore, Jarrod Bowen joined West Ham in January from the Championship and had a decisive influence on the Irons’ survival, assisting four goals in his last seven Premier League matches.
Both examples prove that bridging the gap between the second tier and Premier League is not an impossibility and based on his incredible 26 goal haul last season, Watkins appears ready to make the transition.
Newcastle would be the ideal destination for the striker as well, due to Bruce’s lack of potency at centre forward, meaning there is a high chance Watkins could become a regular starter on Tyneside. Maupay scored 25 Championship goals before joining the Seagulls for a £16m fee. It is thought that Brentford would be looking for a sum in excess of the price Brighton paid for the 23-year-old French striker, but if he fixes Newcastle’s goalscoring woes, Watkins would be worth every penny.