The game-changing £30m signing who could take Newcastle United to elite level

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The Magpies are expected to be active during the upcoming transfer window

The group chat was pinging; ‘Is that the same Lookman who was at Fulham? Surely not’. Let me tell you, dear reader, it was. On Wednesday evening, Ademola, he of mixed Premier League fortunes, did the unthinkable; not only did he hand Xabi Alonso and his imperious Bayer Leverkusen side a first defeat of the season in Atalanta’s sumptuous Europa League final triumph, but he did so by scoring a hat-trick of daydream proportions. As a consequence, he joins the likes of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stéfano as players to have netted three times in a major continental showpiece fixture; auspicious company indeed.

Understandably, Lookman’s dazzling exhibition has led to plenty of chatter in the days since. There appears to be a newfound appreciation for a player who never truly hit his stride in the English game, and who has committed his international allegiance to Nigeria in recent times. That heightened interest has seemingly bled into the realm of transfer speculation too. According to a report from Paul Joyce at The Telegraph, the 26-year-old has popped up on the radars of several Premier League clubs (how do these scouting departments manage it?!) and could be allowed to leave Italy for around £30 million in the coming weeks.

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While the specificity of his suitors remains somewhat murky, at that price point, you would imagine that there will be more than a few prospective destinations available to a versatile attacking talent who has registered 15 goals and eight assists in 43 outings across all competitions this season.

Take, for instance, West Ham, who seem to be in perpetual state of reinforcement, and who may be in extra need of strengthening given Michail Antonio’s age, Danny Ings’ general anonymity, Lucas Paqueta’s looming alleged betting fiasco, and widespread interest in Jarrod Bowen this summer. Or perhaps Aston Villa, themselves preparing for a swing at the Champions League next term, and likely to be on the hunt for added quality and depth in forward areas to complement a creative contingent that has served them very well under Unai Emery thus far.

And then, of course, there is Newcastle United. The Magpies, for all of their oily wealth, continue to be shackled by the external pressures of Financial Fair Play regulations, and are having to be more restrained and savvy in the transfer market than many of their supporters would have hoped or expected upon the completion of their Saudi takeover a couple of years ago.

That being said, a £30 million swoop still feels like an affordable outlay for a club of their status and ilk, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that Lookman would be a handy addition to Eddie Howe’s squad as they build towards establishing themselves as a regular top four disruptor.

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While rumours continue to swirl surrounding Alexander Isak’s immediate future on Tyneside, there is still a strong argument to be made for the Magpies acquiring a forward or two this window regardless of the Swede’s fate. Alongside the striker, Anthony Gordon looks like a world-beater in the making, and Harvey Barnes has been too frequently injured or benched this season to properly gauge his progress, but beyond those names, nobody appears truly indispensable.

Jacob Murphy has been a fine performer and a willing servant, but does not necessarily have the feel of a player around which Howe would erect his simmering silverware ambitions. Likewise, Miguel Almiron could quite easily be moved on this summer with relatively little protestation, and Callum Wilson, for all he has contributed during his time in the North East, looks increasingly likely to be sold sooner rather than later.

Lookman, with his ability to play on either flank or through the centre, would make for a fitting replacement to any of those players - and would provide cover and competition in abundance even if they were to stay.

Of course, the naysayers will point out that the former Everton, Fulham, and Leicester City star never truly lit up the Premier League, and they would be justified in doing so. But after a couple of years on the continent, Lookman looks like a different proposition entirely. Only just entering the prime of his career, and now boasting a cutting edge that he has previously lacked, it would be no great shock to see an English club take a punt on him over the coming weeks. Newcastle United should absolutely think about being the ones who do.

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