Newcastle: Shearer 2.0 in Brereton Diaz

Newcastle United may well have spent big on club-record capture Alexander Isak during the previous window, although the Magpies may look to strengthen their centre-forward ranks again this month.

The St James’ Park outfit were only recently named by The Sun as one of the clubs seemingly showing an interest in Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton Diaz, with the 23-year-old facing an uncertain future at Ewood Park with just six months remaining on his existing deal.

Although the report suggests that the Championship side’s £15m valuation could prove a sticking point for the Tynesiders – as well as a handful of other Premier League clubs – the Chile international is clearly a player that the club admires, with sporting director Dan Ashworth believed to have made a call regarding the forward’s availability over the summer.

The Englishman could well be wise to revive that interest with another approach in the coming weeks, with Brereton Diaz also offering the benefit of being able to feature on the flanks, as well as through the middle.

The “extraordinary” talent – as lauded by former Rovers boss Tony Mowbray – has been in scintillating form in the second tier in recent times, having provided 13 goal involvements in just 26 games so far this term, after previously scoring 22 times and laying on three assists in 37 games last season.

The 17-cap machine no doubt appears ready to make the step up to the top tier sooner rather than later, with such an acquisition only set to bolster Eddie Howe’s bid to secure Champions League qualification.

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As far as the St James’ Park outfit are concerned, the hope would be that the move could prove just as fruitful as that of another man who previously traded Blackburn for Newcastle in Alan Shearer, with the Magpies club legend having thrived after making his £15m switch back in 1996.

Despite the pressure of what was a then world-record fee, the former England international proved an instant hit after making that return to his boyhood club, ending his debut campaign with 25 goals in just 31 top-flight games to clinch a third successive Golden Boot.

Although the one-time Southampton ace would prove unable to lead his beloved club to silverware in the years that followed, he etched his place in club folklore having racked up 206 goals in 405 games – the most in Newcastle history.

Trying to replicate the success of what is an undoubted club legend and local hero would no doubt prove a sizeable task for Brereton Diaz, although the Stoke-born powerhouse will no doubt be hoping that he can follow in Shearer’s footsteps and make his mark on Tyneside.

As alluded to above, the reported price tag may be proving prohibitive for Ashworth and co at present, although managing to strike a deal this month could well prove an astute piece of business for the high-flying outfit.