NEWCASTLE UNITED’S search for a new striker has suffered a double blow after Pierre-Michel Lassoga completed a move to Hamburg while Alexandre Lacazette effectively ruled out a switch to a club who are not realistic contenders for the Champions League.
Both players have featured highly on the Magpies’ wanted list this summer, and senior Newcastle officials made preliminary inquiries to both Hertha Berlin and Lyon in an attempt to pave the way for a formal approach.
However, neither striker is regarded as a viable target any more, forcing Newcastle’s recruitment team to rethink their options ahead of the start of senior pre-season training on Monday.
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Lassoga had looked like joining Hamburg for the last week or so, with only the finances of the deal holding up his permanent switch to the side he represented on loan last season.
The 22-year-old travelled to Tyneside earlier in the summer to discuss a possible move to the North-East, only to return to Germany and state he would prefer to remain in the Bundesliga.
Newcastle did not end their interest at that stage, but as time wore on, it became increasingly clear that the forward, who scored 13 goals in 20 league matches last season, had set his heart on rejoining Hamburg.
The finances of yesterday’s deal have not been revealed – Hertha were initially demanding around £8m – but Lasogga has signed a five-year deal at Hamburg’s Imtech Arena.
“It’s fantastic that this transfer has now been perfected, and that my situation has been resolved,” said Lasogga, who will now head to China for Hamburg’s pre-season tour. “I’m delighted that I can continue playing for HSV.
“I hope this will be the start of a new and successful era, and I’m pleased to be able to do my bit in the creation of a new Hamburg.”
With Lasogga’s name removed from their list of attacking targets, Newcastle officials might well have been planning to step up their interest in Lacazette, another player they have been targeting since last season.
However, their chances of landing the Frenchman receded significantly yesterday when his agent, David Venditelli, outlined the possible scenarios that would see his client leave Lyon.
The pair are currently locked in talks with Lyon officials over a new deal, with the Ligue 1 club understood to be refusing to meet Lacazette’s reported wage demands of around £45,000-a-week.
Earlier this week, the 23-year-old, who boasts two senior France caps, spoke of potentially leaving French football in order to pursue his career.
That led to renewed speculation linking him with Newcastle, but Venditelli claims the realistic prospect of Champions League football would be a prerequisite in any move this summer, something that would seemingly rule the Magpies out of the race.
“Some English clubs are rushing to the scene,” said Venditelli. “If Alexandre leaves, it will be for a team that plays in the Champions League, or at least a team who is very close to being there.”