Former Sunderland defender Michael Gray has claimed Newcastle United should target audacious moves for Arsenal duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott should the Magpies get promoted to the Premier League this season.
Rafa Benitez’s side are currently top of the Sky Bet Championship, one point clear of second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.
While that lofty position is by no means a sure-fire indicator of the Magpies restoration to the top flight this term, the vast majority of the media strongly believe Newcastle will return to the Premier League this season and should start planning for potential incomings at St James’ Park this summer.
To be linked with names such as Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain when still in the Championship is an optimistic shout, yet ex-defender Gray believes they are the types of players who would be idolised in the north-east.
“They do like their wide players,” Gray told talkSPORT.
“They’ve certainly had some very talented wide players over the years.
Both Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain have failed to nail down starting places at Arsenal this season, with Arsene Wenger putting more faith in the previously unknown Alex Iwobi.
The pair have had remarkably similar careers to date, with both starring as teenagers for Southampton before making the switch to the Gunners.
Walcott, who scored his 100th Arsenal goal in the 2-0 FA Cup victory over Sutton United this week, has consistently failed to live up to his frightening potential since arriving at the North London club 10 years ago.
However, the forward has never really had an extended run in Arsene Wenger’s side and the potential acquisition of a player of Walcott’s calibre should be one to excite Newcastle fans across the country.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is another player who will be highly coveted should he be deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates this year.
The 23-year-old is still a young player and has plenty of time to find some consistency to match his undoubted talent on the football pitch.
Dubbed ‘The Ox’, Chamberlain offers a strong, physical presence on the wing while possessing the technique and creativity Arsenal players are famed for.
With Yoan Gouffran and Sammy Ameobi reportedly leaving on free transfers in the summer, Newcastle need to bring in high quality players in this key area, something Gray believes hasn’t always happened in the past.
“…with Newcastle coming up, it’s a stadium that has found it difficult over the years to attract players.
“But if they are to get back to where they belong then these are the type of players that they have to look for.”
With the transfer rumour mill in full flow regarding potential Premier League signings, the onus is now on those currently donning the famous black-and-white to ensure Rafa Benitez’s side returns to the Premier League at the first time of asking.