View: Newcastle would solve problem area by rivalling Aston Villa for Championship hitman
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Rafa Benitez has a huge dilemma in front of him at Newcastle just four days before the Toon play host to Tottenham in the first Premier League game of the season.
Newcastle are light in options in the final third, after losing Adam Armstrong to Championship outfit Bolton on loan while Daryl Murphy has joined Nottingham Forest this summer.
That has left Benitez with just Aleksander Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle in the final third, with the latter expected to lead the line against Mauricio Pochettino’s side on Sunday.
However, that situation is likely to worsen even further this summer, with the future of Serbia international Mitrovic still up in the air.
The Evening Chronicle claim the 22-year-old is allowed to leave Tyneside this summer for a fee of £16million, with Lyon, Besiktas and Fenerbahce all interested his services.
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That could leave Benitez with just one option in the final third and signing a new striker would become a necessity before the end of August.
Newcastle should turn their attention to 27-year-old Championship hitman Jordan Rhodes this summer, who could be allowed to leave Sheffield Wednesday.
The Daily Mail claim Aston Villa are eyeing a move to sign the striker, who has smashed 94 goals in 208 Championship games but was hardly given a sniff at Middlesbrough last season.
The Toon need back-up to striker Gayle, and signing Rhodes would be the perfect replacement as the former Huddersfield ace looks to prove to Newcastle’s rivals Boro that they were wrong to only use him six times in the Premier League.
Rhodes, a 14-time Scotland international, would team up with national teammates Grant Hanley and Matt Ritchie and rediscovering his form could see him earn a call-up to the 2018 World Cup squad, if Scotland qualify.
In a move that would suit all parties, Rhodes should join the Toon this summer and fire the Magpies to Premier League safety.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Toon must join north-east rivals Sunderland in signing this Championship club captain.