NEWCASTLE United are ready to step up their summer recruitment drive by tabling offers for overseas duo Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Dimitri Payet.
The Magpies are keen to have the bulk of their new signings in place by the time pre-season training begins in July, and their recruitment team, which features Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley, Alan Pardew and Graham Carr, has identified Lasogga and Payet as viable targets.
Lasogga is a 22-year-old German striker who spent last season on loan at Hamburg from fellow Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.
He scored 13 goals in 20 Bundesliga appearances, but was unable to prevent Hamburg slipping into a relegation play-off with Greuther Firth.
Hertha Berlin officials have hinted they will be willing to sell Lasogga this summer, but there is little chance of Hamburg being able to afford to sign the Germany under-21 international permanently.
Newcastle would be reluctant to match the £10m fee that has been mentioned in the German press as a likely starting point for any discussions, but despite competing interest from Everton, it is hoped a deal could be struck.
With Loic Remy having left at the end of his loan deal, Shola Ameobi having been released as a free agent and Papiss Cisse certain to miss the start of next season after knee surgery, Newcastle desperately need to sign a couple of strikers this summer.
Bafetimbi Gomis, who is about to become a free agent following the end of his contract at Lyon, is one option, but with Luuk de Jong seemingly off the agenda after an unsuccessful loan deal, talks over Lasogga’s position could start as early as this week.
Payet, a winger with French side Marseille, is a player Newcastle have scouted on a number of occasions in the past.
The 27-year-old was a Magpies target when he completed a £12m move from Lille to Marseille last summer, but it was felt his price was prohibitive.
However, things have not gone to plan at the Stade Velodrome, and with new Marseille head coach Marcelo Bielsa having been instructed to raise his own transfer funds this summer, Payet is one of the players who has been deemed surplus to requirements.
His details have been circulated to a number of leading European agents, and Newcastle are aware of his availability for a potentially cut-price fee of around £6m.
West Ham and Arsenal have also been linked with Payet in the past, and the latter would provide stiff competition if they decided to make a move for a player who scored eight goals in 35 matches last season and can play in a central midfield position as well as on the wing.
However, with Hatem Ben Arfa expected to return to France once the transfer window officially reopens, Newcastle desperately need to add some creativity to their midfield ranks and senior figures have always rated Payet highly.
In January, Remy Cabella was at the top of their wanted list, but after a series of wrangles with the midfielder’s representatives and senior officials at Montpellier, there is a reluctance to pursue the 24-year-old again.
Cabella is expected to finally leave Montpellier this summer, and there is a chance Newcastle could make another move if some of their other creative targets fell through. At the moment, though, the Magpies are looking elsewhere.
Nevertheless, Cabella appears keen to flag up his availability, and clearly regards Tyneside as a potential future destination.
“Newcastle is one of the great teams in England,” said Cabella. “(Yohan) Cabaye told me a lot of good things about them.
“I have an agreement with Montpellier in case of an interesting offer, and I will reflect calmly to make the right choice.
“I need to make the right choice for Euro 2016, although I can also stay in France as Marseille is one of the big clubs interested in me.”
Meanwhile, Romain Amalfitano is expected to complete a permanent move from Newcastle to Dijon this summer after a successful loan spell with the French side.