Newcastle’s Austin contingency plan is Anderlecht marksman

Newcastle’s principal transfer target this summer is thought to be QPR striker Charlie Austin, but with a potentially pricey bidding war in prospect for the Englishman, the Magpies are exploring other avenues.

In his first transfer window as Newcastle boss, Steve McClaren is under real pressure to bring a genuine goal scorer to St James’ Park, after a season in which none of their strikers excelled.

With this criterion in mind, the latest reports suggest McClaren has identified Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbian marksman clocked up 23 goals for the Belgian Jupiler League outfit, which is over half of the miserly tally of 40 the Toon managed in a season which so nearly saw them relegated.

Impressively, Mitrovic notched Champions League goals on the road at Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund although Anderlecht failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.

Such exploits have not gone unnoticed on the continent with several other notable admirers including Portuguese giants Benfica, interested in acquiring the 20-year-old.

However, reports suggest McClaren and Newcastle will be first to test the waters with a bid of £12m in the pipeline.

This figure is £3m less than the mooted £15m valuation QPR has plonked on Austin’s head this summer, a fee which the player himself if anxious will be put off potential buyers.

With Newcastle owner Mike Ashley famously frugal in the north east, this could well be a factor in the trail running cold from a Magpies perspective.

Mitrovic may not be proven in Premier League terms, but the young Serbian looks to be one of the best emerging talents going.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.