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Oumar Niasse may be not needed at the Goodison Park, but is very much a wanted man in the transfer market. The Senegalese striker has been made available for clubs by the Toffees boss Ronald Koeman and is being chased by Premier League newbies Newcastle United, along with Burnley (The Sun).
The 27-year old was signed by the Merseyside outfit in January 2016, by then-manager Roberto Martinez, but struggled to make an impact in England. With Koeman taking over last summer, he relegated the forward to the reserves side, before loaning him out to Hull City in the January transfer window.
Niasse had an average spell at the KCOM Arena, scoring 5 goals in 18 games for the Tigers, but there was enough evidence to see that if given a chance, he can have a strong impact for the team. This has led to interest from Burnley and Newcastle ahead of the upcoming season.
So, where should Niasse be going? Will the Turf Moor be the ideal destination for him, or the St. James’ Park?
Newcastle United earned promotion back to the Premier League on account of winning the EFL Championship last season. Manager Rafael Benitez is intent on strengthening his ranks ahead of their big return to the top-flight.
The centre-forward position is one major area that the club are looking to reinforce in the summer. The Magpies sold veteran forward Daryl Murphy to Nottingham Forest and the mercurial Aleksandar Mitrovic too finds himself close to the exit doors, amidst interest from French side Olympique Lyon. That would leave Newcastle with just Dwight Gayle as the option at the top. While the Englishman may have scored 23 goals last season, finishing as the second-highest goal-getter in the Championship, his record in the Premier League isn’t all that impressive.
Bringing in Niasse will help the club solve their striker issues while the player too will be getting regular footballing action, considering that there isn’t much competition. Also, the fact that he and Gayle play very differently could be advantageous to Niasse, as he would provide Benitez with an alternate option, meaning he will feature prominently.
On the other hand, Burnley, the Championship title winners before Newcastle, had a fairly decent season last time around, as they managed to survive the drop back to the second tier. Manager Sean Dyche will be hoping to build on the season and mount a challenge to try and break into the upper half of the table in the coming term and has been bolstering his squad towards that end.
The club have good, solid options to spearhead the attack, in the form of Andre Gray, Ashley Barnes and last season’s top-scorer Sam Vokes. However, Gray has been linked with an exit after it was reported that there had been a breakdown in the contract negotiations between the club and the player. If the Englishman decides to leave in the summer, the Clarets will definitely want to bring in a new face. But should Niasse be that man?
Towards the end of last season, Dyche stuck with Barnes and Vokes as his preferred partnership at the top, which would mean Niasse being left behind the duo in the pecking order. All the three forwards operate pretty much in a similar way, with their physical approach at the top, which wouldn’t help the Senegalese striker’s chances of breaking into the team either, as he will be offering nothing different. And if Gray doesn’t leave at all, Niasse’s situation would be very hard.
So, if it comes to a choice between Newcastle and Burnley, Niasse will be better served by moving to the St. James’ Park as it would guarantee more first-team opportunities for him.