Newcastle United need reinforcements at both ends of the pitch during the winter window. They’re leaking goals at an alarming rate – 17 in the run eight defeats –while failing to put the ball in the back of the net, 20 for the season and just six in their last seven.
While the defensive issues will be a concern for the conservative Newcastle manager, it’s harder to shore up a defence in January than it is to find undervalued attackers. And reports recently have suggested Bentítez is looking to raid his former club Liverpool as he looks to bolster his attacking options.
Daniel Sturridge, who recently said he wanted to leave Liverpool, was the first player to be linked with a move to St James’ Park before reports emerged about team-mate Danny Ings. The obvious choice of the two would be the former.
Sturridge, on his day, is world class. But, unfortunately for the striker, his days are few and far between, especially in a system like Liverpool’s which resolves around high energy pressing.
Since the start of the 2014/15 season he’s averaged just 833 minutes worth of Premier League football per campaign. Yet despite this he’s still averaged five goals per season meaning he’s finding the back of the net every 166 minutes.
It’s not bad for a player who hasn’t been given a sustained run of games for the best part of four seasons.
It’s down a combination of injuries and not being Jürgen Klopp’s first choice striker. And the fact is, he’s never going to be given the opportunity to rediscover his 2013/14 form at Anfield. But it doesn’t mean he can’t do it elsewhere and St James’ Park could be an ideal home for him.
However, the raid on Liverpool doesn’t have to be limited to just the one player. Bentítez has opted to use a 4-4-2 system at times this season and the duo from Anfield have profiles which make them ideally suited to playing as a strike partnership.
Ings has missed the best part of three seasons because of knee injuries. He’s not really had an impact this season and is behind Dominic Solanke in the pecking order.
Given he’s not really played regularly since the 2014/15 season it’s perhaps difficult to suggest he’ll still be the same player he was during his Burnley days.
If he is, however, then he’d be a striker ideally suited to the Benītez system. In the graphic above we’ve taken a look at Ings’ performances for Burnley during his only full season in the Premier League.
Obviously Ings’ sample size is larger given it’s taken from an entire season, so to make it fairer we’ve looked at stats per 90 minutes. Context is important and it’s worth remembering that during the season at Turf Moor, Ings wasn’t primarily used as a striker. He would play in wide areas from time to time and sometimes dropped into an attacking midfield role.
Despite his selflessness he was was still averaging a goal every three games for a Burnley side that finished the season in 19th position. He knows that it’s a slug near the bottom of the table and he’s stepped up once, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be able to do again.
Furthermore, Ings’ best performances for Liverpool came in an attacking two. Yes, the sample size is tiny but it doesn’t make it a lie.
He came off the bench to partner Sturridge in a game against Norwich and bagged his first goal for the Merseyside club then started alongside the former Chelsea forward in the 1-1 draw with Everton. A game in which he nodded home the opener.
There’s been a number of injuries since then but they’re both worth a gamble.
Sturridge is reportedly available for close to £25million, a bargain in today’s market, while Ings could swap the North West for the North East in a loan deal. Raiding the Reds could help keep Newcastle in the Premiership.