Alan Pardew sent Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr to watch Modibo Maiga at the weekend, with the Toon manager keeping a close eye on the striker in preparation for the January transfer window, according to the Northern Echo.
Maiga was the subject of much transfer speculation over the summer, and at one point refused to play for Ligue 1 side Sochaux in the hopes of forcing through a move to St James’ Park.
But Newcastle were unable to come to an agreement with the French side, and eventually Maiga resigned to staying at Sochaux past deadline day.
While Maiga has now said that he is settled and wants to get more game time for Sochaux, Newcastle are still said to be monitoring the situation and hope to do business with the side in January next year.
Pardew said today that the constant speculation surrounding Newcastle purchasing a striker has pushed the current forward line to show why they deserve to be in the starting side.
"I haven't directly laid down a challenge to my strikers, but if you're a player at a football club and you read about new signings, it does raise your game," Pardew said.
"I had it at Crystal Palace when I was a player there. I was wondering if I was going to be replaced, and it makes you think, 'What about me?' That's good and you step up.
"In this division, managers are always looking to replace players with better ones and if you're someone like Leon (Best), you've got to prove yourself when you step up a division.
"Leon was very unlucky not to score at the weekend - he did some great things. His replacement seems to have been on his way here for 16 months, ever since we got promoted. It hurts you into proving people wrong."
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