Just who is the Ligue 2 goal getter that Newcastle are scouting?

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Just because Joe Kinnear isn’t around to guide Newcastle so serenely through transfer windows doesn’t mean their scouts aren’t out and about trying to uncover a little gem to unveil to Magpies fans.

Scouting trips to France have been made with such regularity that it’d be no surprise to find out that Mike Ashley had bought his talent spotters a little cottage there somewhere in order to save on hotel costs.

And it is across the English Channel that the latest reconnaissance mission has taken place, with the Geordie club one of a reported 15 taking in the playing delights of Metz’s striker Diafra Sakho.

The 24-year-old is catching the eye in France’s Ligue 2, enjoying a breakout season with 12 goals in 21 appearances for his club.

That haul is quite a step up from anything the French-Senegalese front man has previously produced, with his next best tally being the five goals he scored in 30 appearances during Metz’s 2010/11 campaign.

With Newcastle in need of permanent striking replenishment – they have Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong only on a temporary basis – to replace Papiss Cisse, who’s been stinking up the football field for months, Newcastle obviously have Sakho pinned as a low-cost solution.

As a Ligue 2 side, Metz can hardly demand mega-bucks for their star man and may well be tempted with a bid as low as £3m should Newcastle come a’knocking.

The St James’ Park residents are currently out of form having won just once in the last six games and face an uphill battle to topple Chelsea, which is a lengthy 12/1 shot.

Overall, a top-six finish looks to becoming a distant reality as the gap between Newcastle and Tottenham, who currently lie sixth, stands at seven points, making the 1/28 on a top-10 finish about all their fans can look forward to.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.