Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are reportedly plotting moves for Ludovic Ajorque, who could leave Ligue 1 club Strasbourg this summer.
According to Football Insider, Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are set to battle it out for Strasbourg’s target-man Ludovic Ajorque. The 28-year-old is also a target for Leicester City, with the Ligue 1 outfit reportedly demanding €15 million to part ways with him.
Ajorque joined Strasbourg in the summer of 2018 from then second-tier French side Clermont Foot for a nominal fee and has proven to be a steal. He has consistently delivered the goods in the final third, hitting double digits in goals column in each of the last two seasons.
The former Angers man has made 138 appearances in Ligue 1, amassing 50 goals and 19 assists. The 28-year-old was also part of Strasbourg’s Coupe de la Ligue win in 2018/19. With 12 goals and eight assists last season, Ajorque was a major force behind his side securing a sixth-placed finish as they missed out on a continental spot by just three points, despite being considered as minnows in the division.
The Frenchman is currently under contract at Strasbourg until June 2024 but could switch clubs with the Ligue 1 outfit willing to sell if they receive a good offer around €15 million. Needless to say, Ajorque’s exploits have caught the attention of a host of clubs from across the continent, with German sides Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt all interested in his signature.
Now, Premier League outfits such as Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are becoming aware of his desire to test himself on English shores. They have noted that the 28-year-old has hit the back of the net regularly over the last two campaigns and have taken note of his style of play, which is tipped to suit the Premier League.
Ajorque stands at 6ft 5in and is a big aerial threat in and around the box while being strong at hold-up play. Crystal Palace and Newcastle both require another option in the find third and are monitoring Ajorque’s situation closely. They are even likely to watch the 28-year-old live against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly this weekend at Anfield.
Newcastle, for one, have been linked with a number of strikers since failing to sign their top summer target, Hugo Ekitike, who instead joined Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. But they are yet to find any breakthroughs in the market, with other targets like Ivan Toney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin likely to be priced out of their budget.
With fringe option Dwight Gayle’s moving to Stoke City, Newcastle United’s need for a new striker has become essential. Callum Wilson is a terrific talent, but there are question marks over his fitness, making Ajorque a viable low-cost alternative.
As for Palace, they are also on the hunt for a new striker this summer. While Patrick Vieira’s side played an attractive brand of football, each of their three senior strikers struggled, which led to the team’s overall regression towards the back-end of last season. Whether any of Newcastle and Crystal Palace make a move for the 28-year-old Strasbourg striker remains to be seen.