Newcastle United are keeping tabs on another MLS hotshot in Josef Martinez – the man who is aiming for a world record goalscoring streak this season.
The 26-year-old former striker partner of Miguel Almiron has now netted in 15 consecutive matches, an MLS record, and is hoping to go level with Lionel Messi’s world record-breaking sequence of netting for 21 successive games.
United’s scouting network in the US is now well established with head of recruitment Steve Nickson forging excellent links in MLS during his transfer mission to land Almiron last year.
Since then Newcastle’s scouting team have remained focused on Atlanta United’s matches and checked out the Venezuela international.
They are well aware of Martinez’s progress but he is on a substantial list of possible targets ahead of the January window.
It could even be argued that Almiron is missing his old strike partner as he struggles to find his first top-flight goal in English football.
The duo helped fire Atlanta United to the MLS title last term with Almiron’s form winning him the move to St James’ Park after long, drawn-out transfer talks.
The joy of Almiron’s move to Newcastle has fizzled away since then but it could reignited with his first Premier League strike.
Across the Atlantic though – Martinez can’t miss at the moment.
Just before the window slammed shut in Europe there was talk that the South American was attracting interest from France and the Premier League with Everton taking a good hard look at the goal-getter.
But the speculation has hardly turned his head with a fresh glut of goals since last month.
Martinez said recently: “I don’t pay attention to those rumors or anything.
“I live in the present. I don’t think about the future.
“So right now I’m happy in Atlanta and happy with my teammates.”
Newcastle could well be cautious about another MLS acquisition so soon after Almiron, especially with questions being asked about the standards between MLS and the Premier League given the Paraguay international’s barren run on English soil.
Almiron’s goal drought has been a talking point on Tyneside but he has the full backing of head coach Steve Bruce.
Although, Bruce has pointed to Almiron’s goalscoring feats in MLS on more than one occasion, stating: “Once a scorer, always a scorer.”
Bruce also added: “He’s done very well here but he hasn’t been able to score a goal.
“Miguel and Yoshinori Muto have only been around the Premier League have only been around for six to 12 months.
“The longer they have been here the better that experience will help.
“I have already said that Miguel needs to get a goal and he will calm down again.”
Martinez has played in Europe before with BSC Young Boys, FC Thun and on the bigger stage of Serie A with Torino where he netted 11 goals in 72 appearances which contributes to the argument of differing standards again.
The man nicknamed “Pity” netted twice this week against FC Cincinnati and with Atlanta aiming to win the MLS Cup again like last year things couldn’t be going better for Almiron’s old side.
As clubs start preparing their shortlists for the winter window, Martinez’s progress is certainly worth keeping an eye on – especially as he goes into his next batch of games bidding for a world record.