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Newcastle United should go for young promising Championship striker…

Newcastle United are rapidly approaching the end of this 2023/24 season.

In 29 days time we will have the final whistle on the final match away at Brentford.

Kicking off on Wednesday night at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, six more games to be played and hopefully United ending the season on a high with what looks a generous remaining fixture list.

As soon as that final whistle blows at Brentford, thoughts will turn to this upcoming Newcastle United summer transfer window.

Well, in truth, when are we not thinking and talking about who Newcastle could and should be signing next?

One phrase I repeatedly hear from NUFC fans in connection with this next transfer window is that  ‘Newcastle United should go for a young promising up and coming Championship striker…’ this summer.

It is not a new idea / opinion voiced by Newcastle fans but I think it has got significantly louder recently.

This (‘Newcastle United should go for a young promising up and coming Championship striker…’) is normally uttered alongside disparaging comments about Callum Wilson and his growing inability to be available for many matches.

I hate to be awkward but does any of this make any sense?

Are there a multitude of young promising up and coming Championship strikers that Newcastle United should automatically be looking at?

Let us take Callum Wilson first.

If I asked you to guess how many of Newcastle United’s last 71 Premier League matches Callum Wilson has played in (not just named in the matchday squad for), going back to May 2022, what would you guess?

How about 40% of them? Maybe 50%? What about pushing 60%?

Callum Wilson has actually played in 49 of Newcastle’s last 71 Premier League matches, 69% of them.

Indeed, until that totally freak incident in the Forest away match when the defender caused a pectoral injury, Callum Wilson had played in 49 of Newcastle’s last 63 Premier League matches, 78% of them.

Are those really the stats of a player who is ‘mostly’ injured?

There is no doubt that Callum Wilson during his career has missed plenty of matches and indeed has had some serious injuries. However, I think the last couple of years Eddie Howe has managed the striker really well. Signing Alexander Isak has meant Callum Wilson doesn’t have to start every match (when available!) and this has helped to keep Wilson fit and available most of the time.

I think as well, the fact that Alexander Isak is first choice striker now and so Callum Wilson is invariably named on the bench, has helped lead to this perception, wrong in my opinion, that he (Wilson) isn’t available very often. His lack of minutes is more due to the presence of Isak than injuries!

More importantly of course is what Callum Wilson actually does when he is on the pitch. Those last 71 Premier League matches, in the 49 games where Wilson has got on the pitch, he has scored a goal on average every 108 Premier League minutes. A superb record, 26 goals in those last 49 PL appearances.

I actually think that Newcastle United are really well served for strikers and they do have strength in depth, certainly in comparison to most other Premier League clubs.

As well as Isak and Wilson, Anthony Gordon has looked good playing through the middle when asked to do so this season. Whilst Joelinton can obviously do a job there as well, even though we all agree that midfield is better for him ideally. The problem this season has been the sheer number of missing players, so when Gordon or Joelinton have played up front in games, the players who would then fill in, in their usual positions, have been thin on the ground as well.

Anyway, what about all these obvious promising young up and coming Championship strikers that Newcastle United should be replacing Callum Wilson with?

Well, ahead of this weekend’s matches, with 43 rounds of Championship matches having been played, there are precisely two players who have scored 20 or more goals in the second tier.

Very top scorer is Sammie Szmodics with 24 goals. Sammie is actually not that young and not even a Championship striker!

He is an attacking midfielder for Blackburn who turns 29 in September and of course, also scored in the FA Cup against Newcastle United.

The only other one to reach 20 goals (exactly) is indeed a striker and he is a certain 27 year old Adam Armstrong, lifelong Newcastle United fan and who was with NUFC for most of his life before moving on to make a career for himself elsewhere.

That is it, up to this weekend and the final three rounds of Championship matches, these are the only two to manage 20 goals in the second tier this season.

No wonder the Newcastle United fans who come up with this lazy comment that ‘obviously’ Eddie Howe should be replacing the ‘always injured’ Callum Wilson with a young and exciting ‘up and coming Championship striker’, don’t actually name any of these ‘obvious’ Championship strikers, is because they don’t exist.

Certainly they don’t exist in terms of looking like capable of not only being able to play in the Premier League BUT also score goals in the top tier.

Which surely is a little bit of an important factor, isn’t it?

I can’t believe the number of Newcastle fans who would be happy to see Eddie Howe get rid of Callum Wilson and replace him with some mythical Championship striker.

Reality for me is that Newcastle are very lucky to have Callum Wilson as second choice striker and as detailed above, he is NOT usually injured. Certainly not these past two years when we have had Alexander Isak at the club as well.

The thing is as well, if there ever is a young exciting Championship striker, then it isn’t exactly going to be a secret and Newcastle United able to pick him up on the cheap. EVERY Premier League club is looking for this type of player and it would be a serious transfer fee is such a striker was up for grabs, the exact opposite to a cheap bargain. Of course, this is why so many Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United, look overseas for better value and indeed, better quality, than is available in the Championship.


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