Loic Remy is being lined up for a shock return to Newcastle United.
Chelsea are willing to offload the forward on a six-month loan deal in this month’s transfer window.
Everybody can see what we are and what we need going forward.
And Newcastle are interested in bringing him back to St James’s Park.
But the odds on Queens Park Rangers’ Charlie Austin – who head coach Steve McClaren admitted was on the cub’s “radar” in September – coming to United have receded significantly.
The striker, sidelined since the middle of last month with a hamstring problem, isn’t expected to return to fitness until next month, and United need a player ready to hit the ground running.
Asked about the club’s need for a striker, McClaren said: “We’re discussing that all the time.
“Everybody can see what we are and what we need going forward.
“That’s something that will be discussed privately.”
Remy spent the 2013-14 season on loan at United from then-club Queens Park Rangers.
The 29-year-old – who scored 14 goals for the club during his stay at St James’s Park – opted to join Chelsea at the end of the season, but the France international has found himself on the fringes at Stamford Bridge.
And, crucially, Remy needs to be playing week in, week out ahead of Euro 2016, which is being staged in his home country.
Remy, left out of the Chelsea squad for last weekend’s game against Crystal Palace, is understood to be open to a move to Newcastle, but he will first assess his options.
United’s own options in the window are limited.
McClaren – whose side takes on Watford at Vicarage Road in the FA Cup on Saturday – needs a proven Premier League goalscorer, and few are available.
A move for former striker Andy Carroll is not entirely out of the question – West Ham United are reportedly willing to sell the 26-year-old – but a loan deal for Remy looks to be more realistic.
Chief scout Graham Carr has also identified targets based overseas.
But having signed five players without Premier League experience last summer, Newcastle are primarily looking at those strikers available domestically.
West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino is another striker who could be on the move.
However, the 22-year-old, like Carroll, would not come cheap.