Newcastle United have had a frustrating summer so far, due to a stand-off between manager and board.
Mike Ashley wants Rafa Benitez to sign a new contract, while the manager wants to see his ambition matches before committing. The Spaniard knows he has a strong hand, but the longer that this goes on, the less time the Magpies will have to complete their summer business.
It is bemusing to many that Ashley continues to take unnecessary risks, especially when it comes to Benitez. The current manager couldn’t be more popular with supporters and he has proven that he can over-achieve with a modest Newcastle squad.
If the Spaniard is given a fair budget to spend this summer, the club will only progress and the long-term future will look bright once again. However, the Sports Direct tycoon is stubborn and he won’t want to back down.
Despite the lack of progress being made, Benitez will continue to work hard behind the scenes to bring in new players and a striker will be high on his agenda.
Newcastle may have finished in the top-ten of the Premier League, but their top scorer was Ayoze Perez with eight goals. That is an area that is concerning and needs to be addressed this summer.
Marca report that the Magpies are one of the clubs interested in Sporting Lisbon striker Bas Dost, alongside Everton and Sevilla. The report states that the Dutch international could be available on a free transfer, due to incidents with the club ultras at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
A group of fans attacked the club’s training ground and the striker was left with several wounds as a result. He could use that to get out of his contract with the club.
Regardless of whether he will be available on a free or not, it is clear that Dost will be looking for a new challenge this summer and Newcastle should do all they can to bring the player to Tyneside.
He has been a long-term target for the club and it is no surprise that his name has cropped up again this summer.
Benitez has favoured a target man, with Joselu and Islam Slimani both being signed within the last 12 months. Neither have managed to impress at St. James’ Park, but they show what the manager wants in the team.
Dost would be a very good fit in this regard, as he is powerful in the air and capable of linking-up effectively with the midfield. During the Portuguese league season, he won 59.76% of his aerial duals and created 21 chances.
However, it is his goal-scoring that is attracting interest from clubs. Dost scored 27 goals in the league, which is one every 95.96 minutes, an extraordinary record for any striker.
His critics will suggest his numbers are tainted by the strength of the division, but considering the problems that Sporting have encountered this season, the 29-year-old’s record is impressive.
Dost has scored goals throughout his career and that is why several clubs will be watching his situation with interest.
During his two seasons with Sporting, he has scored 61 league goals in 61 matches. He has also proven himself in a top-five league, after scoring 32 times in the Bundesliga as a Wolfsburg player.
At the age of 29, it will be difficult to convince Mike Ashley to fund a deal, due to the lack of sell-on value. However, this would be a coup for the club and provide a huge boost to the supporters.
It would be a statement of intent and show that the club are together behind Rafa Benitez. That is needed sooner rather than later and this rumoured transfer would be the perfect way to achieve it. Newcastle need to do all they can to sign Dost.