Newcastle United now is an agents dream. Any players who show any form, or are in the last year of a contract are instantly heading to Tyneside. Supposedly.

According to the bible (NUFC.com) last month the players linked to Newcastle United was well into the 50 mark. Including 10 in one day earlier in the month.

So every player linked with us you have to take with a pinch of salt. The list will only get bigger.

Scouring that list (I’ve seen this particular rumour since the winter) one or two players are household names but one player which stuck out to me was a striker who has gone under everyone’s radar but according to various outlets, including the likes of World Soccer, United could be homing in on  21-year old striker Gamid Agalarov.

Nothing outrageous there, could be a load of rubbish but its Agalarov’s country which would set the fireworks off. He’s Russian.

We couldn’t could we?

Hugo Ekitike is the number one target, its plain to see and with him dusting down his season after being part of the France squad which won the Toulon tournament over the weekend, it’s likely now United will either rubber stamp the transfer or move on. The big money is on seeing Ekitike in a black and white shirt next season but Agalarov is seen as a plan B and even a plan A.

Agalarov has had the sort of breakthrough season that normally would see interest but it’s been a meteoric rise by anyone’s standards.

Agalarov was born in Makhachkala and started out at Anzhi. Remember them?  We played them in our last blast of European competition in 2013?

Papis Cisse scoring a tie winning goal in injury time of a second leg against a team who were ‘nouveau riche’ and had Samuel E’to up front? Of course you do!

Agalarov didn’t do anything of note there and he moved to Ufa, a mere 2,000 miles east and a 27 hour drive away.

Being honest, this 2020 move initially didn’t work out either and he was loaned out to a second tier side where he was mostly used as a substitute. The glamour of the Premier League probably seemed as far away as it does for me, at that point.  He did show promise on loan scoring 5 goals in not very many minutes. This seemed to alert his parent club Ufa who are not exactly a glamour club over there.

They struggle. We are not talking about Zenit or any of the Moscow clubs.

Agalarov then took his second chance with both hands. He started well scoring twice in the second game and as he powerfully hit his stride he scored 6 goals in 5 consecutive games, including a shock equaliser against Zenit.

To put this into perspective Agalarov had scored a staggering 76 percent of his teams goals by Christmas. The other lads had scored 4.

This saw a call up for Russia’s under 21 side and after 4 goals in 4 games at that level, he was elevated into the National side in October. This was only 3 months after starting the season on his last chance.

January saw alleged Newcastle United interest but in this situation you would surely see what developed as the words flash in the pan could come into it.

In the end though he was far from it. By May, Agalarov had scored nearly twenty times, seven clear of Artem Dzyuba, the national team hero and someone who’s been top scorer for the past two seasons.

Ufa, though, won only 6 times out of 30 and scored only 29 times. To say our man was doing the heavy lifting was an understatement.

This meant they had to go through a relegation play off which despite another Agalarov goal, they lost on aggregate and went down along with a former Russian giant Rubin Kazan.

Relegation has meant Agalarov certainly won’t be at Ufa next season and it’s cleared the way for clubs to buy him at a reduced price.

Owner Shamil Gazizov said as much “Hamid will leave the team… his transfer fee will be twice the market value “

What this means in terms of price is unclear but rumours have surfaced that a fee of £10m will be enough for a club which can take what they can get for a player out of contract next year and a one which is an unexpected bonus, having been ready to unload him for sweet f-all a year ago.

In any normal year this deal would not raise many eyebrows at all, but this isn’t a normal year is it?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have torn the rulebook up and buying anything from Moscow whether its anything from lard to diesel or gas to speedboats is about as popular as the invasion itself and rightly so.

The death and destruction left by the red army has left football way, way down the list of concerns and whether we have the guts, the heart or the thick skin to pursue such a deal seems unlikely, but you never rule anything out.

The decision to punish Russian athletes is a one for another day, but this is a player who has fierce Dargin descent (a disputed Muslim area near to Georgia which has been the catalyst for wars in the past and the reason we had to play Anzhi in Moscow) and its not inconceivable for him to denounce the Ukraine mess which would almost certainly finish his international career, but which could force a move to Europe.

His quality means he’s going somewhere and this could be us.

The vagueness of the UK government’s stance on dealing with Russia means that I’m not sure if it’s even allowed, which would kill the deal stone dead but money talks.

If this deal comes off, its tin hat time for us and is it all worth it?

For a talented young number 9 who’s done everything possible to put themselves on the shop window, is it his fault where he comes from?

Of all the possible deals on the list this has the most pitfalls and possible column inches. Gamid Agalarov- remember the name.

Scott Robson