John Gibson has been speaking on the Everything is Black and White podcast about Eddie Howe’s reluctance to deploy two strikers at the same time for Newcastle United.
The Magpies have been on an outstanding upward trajectory since the turn of the year and under Howe, who replaced the unpopular Steve Bruce, with the new boss overseeing Newcastle pick up the fourth most points in the Premier League this year.
Howe has managed to do this with a pretty rigid style of play that’s consisted of a back four, midfield trio and then two wingers supplying a lone striker, whether that be Callum Wilson to Chris Wood.
Something he’s very rarely done is play with two strikers up top, which may be playing against the Magpies in their search for a striker this summer, as Gibson spoke about.
“He was perfect [Ekitike] in Newcastle United’s mind because he would maybe be willing to sit on the bench, he’d certainly have to do so at Paris Saint-Germain – he’s not going to walk into the team ahead of Mbappe and the rest of them, Messi.
“So that was Plan B. And now, when you look at what your Plan B’s going to be – and we’ve said this before – you can’t have a 27-year-old striker in his pomp that scores 20 goals a season who’s willing to sit on the bench, and they’re not going to play two up top because Howe’s very reluctant to do that.
Will Newcastle sign a new striker?
“So you’ve got a problem. Ideally, you’ve got a real top, top kid who will sit on the bench, develop in two seasons’ time or three seasons’ time and take over from Wilson permanently.”
TIF Thoughts on Newcastle’s striker search…
It has been a very difficult and likely frustrating search for Newcastle when it comes to the striker department with moves for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Alexander Isak, Ivan Toney and Hugo Ekitike all ending in disappointment.
However, a breakthrough may well soon be on the cards as Fabrizio Romano has claimed that the Magpies are preparing a proposal for Benfica ace Goncalo Ramos who managed to net eight goals in all competitions last season, including one against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Gibson makes the great point about bringing in someone who will be slightly accepting of sitting on the bench for large parts of the season and learning from someone as proven as Wilson in the Premier League, before taking over from the 30-year-old in a season or two as this could be the best way Howe adds depth and goals to this team without disrupting the balance.