After a brilliant first half in the Championship, Rafa Benitez is facing the injury and suspension worries as the season enters the final quarter. Although the Magpies still sit at the summit with the title very much in their grasp, the boss is quite busy finding backup options this winter window.
Newcastle have scored a staggering 54 goals in the Championship so far, which is the most among all teams. And although the goal tally is quite positively shared by the attacking core of players, Dwight Gayle’s contribution has been the biggest of all.
The former Crystal Palace man has scored a whopping 20 goals this season so far and his hamstring problems have given the boss a major concern. Although Benitez has a decent option in Aleksandar Mitrovic and Darryl Murphy to replace Gayle as and when needed, they lack the vibrancy and impact that the Englishman has.
Benitez is looking to add more firepower by eyeing a move for Leicester City forward Tom Lawrence, who is currently on loan with Ipswich Town, according to Daily Mail. The Wales international left Leicester on a season-long loan in the summer and has had a hand in 10 of Ipswich’s 28 Championship goals this term.
However, Newcastle United have to compete with the likes of Burnley, Sunderland, Derby County, Norwich and Cardiff City, who are all closely monitoring the 24-year-old Wales International. His low-price tag makes him all the more in demand this winter. Defending league champions Leicester are said to be open to £1million offers for the 23-year-old, the same fee they paid Manchester United for him in 2014.
Lawrence has scored 5 goals and registered 4 assists in 21 games so far and Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy is desperate to keep hold of the young Welshman, although he admits that it would be a difficult job. (Stats via Whoscored)
“It kind of saddens me really, because every time he scores it puts him further out of our reach. I’m glad he’s here, of course, and scoring goals. If it wasn’t for him we’d be up a very muddy creek and without a paddle… I could hear the fans singing ‘sign him on, sign him on. That would be lovely, but I think he’ll have a few more options than Ipswich Town, to be honest with you.”
His Premier League career is yet to start. Since his move to Leicester City from Old Trafford, when he signed a four-year contract at the King Power Stadium, he has managed just four senior appearances for the Foxes. And with Premier League clubs after him, a move to Newcastle looks quite unlikely. Having said that, he could find the Championship more beneficial to his progress instead of immediately jumping to the Premier League.
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