Newcastle United's £45m transfer risk paid off as blueprint found for exciting summer deal

Newcastle United's transfer team are working away behind the scenes attempting to secure additional attacking firepower for Eddie Howe this summer. Those involved in the scouting setup on Tyneside are no strangers to being tasked with seeking out a wide forward with an eye for goal and that is again the brief for those in charge of transfers at St James' Park.

Newcastle took a big risk splashing out £45m on Anthony Gordon in the January of 2023, with the former Everton wide man eventually coming good after a shaky period in his new surroundings. Others may have doubted the signing but Howe always knew he was getting a player who he could improve - and crucially - one that could play in a number of positions.

“I’d seen Anthony had played in that position for Everton before he signed for us,” The Newcastle boss said 12 months ago. “We spoke about one of the big things when we signed him was his versatility. For us he’s played left, he’s played right and he’s played centrally as a midfielder.

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"In training he’s also played up front, and done really well in those games that we’ve had here. He’s a player that has that versatility, and in a season like we’re going to go into, players that can play in different positions are so valuable to us.”

Gordon has made the starting spot on the left of Howe's front three his own but now attention will turn to an upgrade on the opposite flank. Again, Newcastle are hopeful of attracting a player who can play both out wide and through the middle, providing Howe with yet more versatility when it comes to choosing for go-to trio at the top end of the pitch.

Following the tried and tested Gordon blueprint means some current targets will likely seem more appealing than others. For example, although Michael Olise would have greatly improved this Newcastle side if he had arrived in the north east as opposed to Bayern Munich, the wide man has rarely played through the middle. The same can be said for Wolves star Pedro Neto.

Other forwards Newcastle have registered their interest in certainly do tick those boxes when it comes to versatility. Noni Madueke, currently used out wide for Chelsea, previously played through the middle at PSV with relative success. The youngster had a tendency to drift out wide for the Dutch side during his development, seeking out space on the right channel and cutting inside on his left even when playing as a centre-forward.

Jarrod Bowen has often being used as a central option for West Ham United in recent years but has also scored a plethora of goals from the right. Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo is another who enjoys moving through the middle.

Newcastle are expected to offload at least one of their current right-wing options; most likely to be young Yankuba Minteh. Miguel Almiron is rarely moved from that particular position, while Jacob Murphy can play almost anywhere on the pitch but has never been moved into a central striking role.

The expectation is Newcastle's options on the right will look significantly different come September, with the possibility of a marquee addition to accompany Gordon and Alexander Isak in front of goal. If they can land a consistent goalscorer to add to the high-flying duo, they will be in good shape for the new campaign.