Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McClaren's Vision Must Work Minus One Striker; THE PREVIEW: West Ham V Newcastle United 8pm, Upton Park, Live on Sky Sports 1 Newcastle United Came out of the Summer Window Pleased with Their Business but with a Nagging Suspicion That They Are a Striker Light. Mark Douglas Looks at Steve McClaren's Options

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McClaren's Vision Must Work Minus One Striker; THE PREVIEW: West Ham V Newcastle United 8pm, Upton Park, Live on Sky Sports 1 Newcastle United Came out of the Summer Window Pleased with Their Business but with a Nagging Suspicion That They Are a Striker Light. Mark Douglas Looks at Steve McClaren's Options

Article excerpt

OUT of the satisfaction with the summer window came a sliver of frustration.

Newcastle United may have spent the thick end of PS50million on new recruits this summer, but one more striker would have hit the target they set for themselves on the May afternoon when Mike Ashley - fresh from hosting a Sports Direct party at St James' Park - told them to "get on with" the job of bolstering a squad that looked too thin.

United had wanted to sign two of a list of about five, and got one in Aleksandar Mitrovic. But as for Bas Dost, Pierre-Michel Lasogga (pictured right) and Charlie Austin - Newcastle ended up being priced out of moves for them just as they had been for Alexandre Lacazette the previous summer.

All of them have done well so far this season. Dost has scored three for Wolfsburg, but at 26, the chances of Newcastle revisiting that one appear slim.

Lassoga, with a pre-season behind him, also has three - including a pair for Hamburg at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday. Austin, with five goals and a place at Euro 2016 within his grasp, looks like the most attainable one right now.

Andy Carroll - an outside bet and someone who consistently interest United - is "not on the radar", according to Steve McClaren at least.

Newcastle have money to spend in January, but have traditionally been reluctant to do so. Yet QPR are already talking about selling and Austin's desperation to land a place at this summer's European Championships may yet force their hand. He has shown little inclination to sign a new contract.

It seems almost inconceivable that Mike Ashley would spend another chunk of change on players in January, but he has handed that "huge responsibility" to his football board this summer. McClaren's thoughts on his owner are interesting. "I met him once before the Gladbach game. We had 10 minute's chit-chat, mostly about Sports Direct and how it makes so much money and how he's turned this club around in eight years to be in profit and for us to spent PS50million and not sell our best player in the last two days of the window," he said.

"The rest, we've said. Lee Charnley is running the ship. …

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