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The January transfer rumour mill is working at maximum capacity and understandably no team is getting more attention right now than Newcastle United. Having brought in Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, the club's new owners are in search of reinforcements in several other key positions, the most important of which being a new striker. Callum Wilson's latest injury has side-lined him for the foreseeable future and with the club's position in the top flight in danger, the club must act now if they want to improve their chances of survival.
There's been talk of many different strikers joining the Northeast club, from high profile and expensive options to young and hungry prospects. One possible solution has been flying somewhat under the radar and that is Spain international and Espanyol forward Raul de Tomas. Perhaps the new owners at Newcastle haven't seen him play this season due to limited Football live streaming options. There have been some murmurings about Leeds, Spurs and West Ham being interested but nothing substantial and no links with Newcastle. Despite this, de Tomas looks to be a very good fit for Eddie Howe's side.
The Spaniard scored again for Espanyol last night, from the penalty spot, in his side's frustrating 2-1 home defeat against strugglers Elche. This latest strike took his tally to 10 La Liga goals for the season, moving him to fourth in the scoring charts. He's having a fantastic time on the back of helping the Catalan outfit win the Segunda Division last term, an achievement to which he contributed 23 league goals.
Having come through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and impressed in the Real Madrid Castilla side, he was sent out on loan several times to Segunda Division clubs, much to the annoyance of many Los Blancos fans. It was at Rayo Vallecano where he really shone, bagging 38 goals in 65 league appearances there. He joined the club in the Segunda and helped them to win the title (his first of two) by scoring 24 goals. He then scored a very respectable 14 in La Liga in his second year on loan before being recalled by Madrid as Rayo went down.
Rather than bring him back into the fold, Madrid sold de Tomas to Benfica, where the wheels came off somewhat. He made just 7 league appearances for the Portuguese giants, scoring no goals, before Espanyol decided to take a leap of faith and bring him back to Spain for £20m. He was unable to keep them up after joining in January but last season fired them to the Segunda title (his second) and has continued that good scoring form in the top flight.
RDT seems to have all the ingredients needed to be a success at Newcastle. At 27, he's experienced but not old. He's proven he can score goals in one of Europe's top five leagues and for relegation threatened teams. Should the unthinkable happen and Newcastle go down, like Eddie Howe, he can also be relied upon to get them back up, having fired two teams to second tier Championships with his goals.
However, with the likes of Trippier already in the door and other signings likely to be on the way, de Tomas will be convinced he can score goals and keep Newcastle up this season. His style should suit Eddie Howe's team perfectly. He's got fantastic movement in the box, he anticipates defenders' decisions and finds space to score. He also loves to arrive late to get on the end of crosses, the type of crosses that Trippier will now be there to provide. He is more than willing to float around and pick up the ball in different areas to help with build up too. Most crucially perhaps, he has exceeded his xG in all three La Liga seasons in which he's featured. He doesn't miss many chances. He's very hard to defend against. He could be a really good option for Howe.
Another good thing to note is his ability to do this for unfancied teams. Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol both finished 20th in La Liga when he was there scoring more goals than he was expected to. He isn't a flat track bully who scores goals for fun in teams that dominate games. On the contrary, he thrives in teams down the bottom of the table, which is why it didn't work out at Benfica where they control possession and overload the box for crosses. de Tomas' game is based around smart movement, hard work and quality finishing - he makes his own space and takes the chances when they are few and far between.
Newcastle have been linked with a variety of different strikers, from 19-year-old striker Hugo Ekitike from Reims who is perhaps too young to take on such a high pressure role, to Chris Wood who has the experience but is perhaps not mobile enough and too one-dimensional for Howe's game. One rumour which won't go away is Patrik Schick of Bayer Leverkusen. While he would be an incredible signing for them, it is extremely unlikely he will want to swap challenging for Champions League football for fighting a relegation battle, even if the new owners do throw an obscene amount of money at it. The German club are likely to command a fee of at least £50m for the Czech international.
Raul de Tomas on the other hand hasn't really got a look in during the rumour frenzy. There are some potential reasons for this. He is under contract until June 2026 and Espanyol did pay £20m to sign him from Benfica only 12 months ago. With the Spaniard in such good form and the team just five points adrift of the European places, they would surely demand a very high fee, possibly in the region of £30-40m for a player with a market value of just £13m (Transfermarkt).
If they've got the money to spend, it could be worth investing in a tenacious, intelligent and proven goal scorer with many good years ahead of him in the game. Raul de Tomas could prove to be a key player in Newcastle's bid to stay in the Premier League and perhaps prove a shrewd acquisition in the years to come.