So it's come to this.
One day (or so) left to go in the summer transfer window, and Newcastle United is still in need of a striker.
This seemed like the doomsday scenario back in May. It feels a little overdramatic to call it that now - to its credit, Newcastle appears to have already done some solid business in the summer market, with Italian left back Davide Santon the latest promising player to sign (Charlton's Rob Elliot also joined to provide cover at goalkeeper) - but it's still concerning. United clearly needs another striker and, based on previous transfer deadline days under Mike Ashley's stewardship, it's not just pessimistic fans that are expecting to be let down.
Newcastle's chances of signing Modibo Maiga were reportedly dependent on his club, Sochaux, being able to secure a replacement. Leeds' Max Gradel was said to be the target, but he looks to be headed to Saint-Etienne instead.
The names of Nolan Roux, Marouane Chamakh, Papiss Demba Cisse, Nicklas Bendtner and Federico Macheda have all been tossed around as backup options, although none of the links have been as credible as those surrounding Maiga. Based on the fact Newcastle has played hardball over transfer fees all summer long, it'd be fairly stunning to see it blow anyone away with an eight-figure offer.
So unless the price tags drop or Ashley and Derek Llambias suddenly change their ways, Macheda on loan is looking like the most likely outcome of a striker search that's covered seven months. Macheda is a talented young player who still possesses plenty of potential. While he's yet to make much of a mark in the Premier League, getting him on loan with an option to buy could turn out to be a clever piece of business.
But I think we can all agree that it never should have come to this.
UPDATE: Sochaux are reportedly closing in on Rennes striker/winger Abdoul Camara. Whether that leads to Maiga moving to Newcastle remains to be seen. United were also said to have had a sizeable offer for Freiburg's Senegalese striker Papiss Demba Cisse late Tuesday, but were planning on following up with another bid. Stay tuned ...