Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala have announced that a host of their star players are to be shipped out in order to slash their unsustainable wage bills.
As Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea fall over themselves to sign the high profile names of Willian and Samuel Eto’o, Newcastle could swoop in for the lesser-known forward Lacina Traoré.
23-year-old Traoré stands at a towering 6 ft 8 and could therefore provide Alan Pardew with some much needed height going forward, especially in set pieces. This, in addition to his great technical skill, makes the Ivory Coast international a serious threat for any defense.
The left-footed forward would provide Pardew with a much needed alternative to his current strikers Cisse, Remy and Gouffran. Admittedly, the Ivorian may not be quite good enough to immediately replace Cisse in Newcastle’s starting XI, but Traoré is only 23 and still has the potential to improve a great deal.
The centre forward is already familiar with Cheick Tioté, who he plays alongside in the Ivory Coast’s national team, and as a Francophone, Traoré would feel right at home among our already considerable French contingent.
Although Traoré has so far only made six appearances for his national team, he boasts an envious four goals and two assists, proving that he is already comfortable playing at an international level.
The Ivorian striker may lack experience in the English Premier League, but his impressive record in Russia holds him in good stead. In 2011/12, Traoré knocked up 18 goals and 5 assists in 39 appearances for his former Russian club Kuban Krasnodar before moving to Anzhi where he has already scored 18 goals and 9 assists in 39 appearances.
Five of Traoré’s goals last season came in Anzhi’s Europa League run, where he put in an impressive performance against us in the last-16 and even scored against Liverpool in the group stages, proving he already has what it takes to score against Premier League opposition.
The main obstacle to any transfer, as it always is with Newcastle nowadays, is money. The £15.8 million which Anzhi brought Traoré for in June 2012 would be far too much for Ashley. However, since Anzhi are desperate to reduce their expenses, Newcastle could perhaps negotiate a transfer fee of almost half that. And with Traoré brought in, Newcastle could off load Shola for around £1 million before his contract expires next June.
Could Lacina Traoré be the striker Newcastle United are desperately searching for… Does anyone have Graham Carr’s email address?