Rafa Benitez steps up striker search as Newcastle’s summer transfer plans under way

Rafa Bneitez.
Rafa Bneitez.
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Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has stepped up his summer recruitment plans – with a number of strikers on his radar.

The Magpies manager has guided the club to the brink of Premier League survival after three successive wins shot his side up to 10th in the table.

While Benitez remains cautious until survival is mathematically certain, he has already started planning his summer recruitment.

A striker remains top of his wishlist, with Newcastle keen to add more firepower to their squad.

Islam Slimani has failed to make an impact at St James’s Park since his deadline day arrival, due to injury and unavailability, and United’s resurgence has come thanks to goals from the likes of Ayoze Perez and Kenedy.

The Magpies have been linked with Nice forward Alassane Plea, who has scored 18 times for the Ligue 1 side this term.

The Frenchman, who can play on the wing or through the middle, burst onto the scene last season with 14 goals and has continued that form this campaign.

The 25-year-old has also attracted the attention of Everton and Burnley and could be available for £15million in the summer.

Newcastle were also linked with a speculative swoop for Athletico Madrid legend Fernando Torres, who announced this week he would leave his boyhood club at the end of the season. Benitez worked with Torres at Liverpool, but the chances of Newcastle signing a 34-year-old whose best days are behind him are slim.

Another striker linked with Newcastle is Dutchman Bas Dost. The Magpies considered a move for the 28-year-old last summer, but opted against it and the player remained at Sporting Lisbon, where he has struck 30 goals in 40 outings this season.

Dost is believed to be looking to leave Sporting, however, prompting talk of United renewing their interest.