Amid all our excitement at seeing Salomon Rondon deliver some eye-catching performances whilst on loan with us, one man who was seemingly forgotten was the man who made the move in the opposite direction – Dwight Gayle.
The 29-year-old has been on fire at the Hawthorns, firing in 24 goals in the Championship, and helping the Baggies to the play-off semi-finals. Despite all signs pointing to the striker leaving St James’ Park on a potential permanent deal this summer, it may just be worth our while to keep him next season.
According to the Chronicle Live, Newcastle will listen to offers for the striker, and that a host of clubs including the likes of Middlesbrough and newly-promoted Aston Villa are interested in his services. Last summer, it was suggested Rafa Benitez gave the green light for Gayle to head out on loan as he was more interested in bringing in a target-man forward like Rondon.
But with the likes of Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez coming into their own and dovetailing with each other superbly, it could just be that Gayle has a long-term future on Tyneside. Even if Rondon completes a permanent switch to join us, having the lightning-quick Gayle to stretch the defence in the closing stages of a game, or even as someone for us to play on the counter, he could still be a really valuable option.
He’s proven himself to be one of the most clinical strikers in the Championship both with us and now West Brom, and deserves a second crack at the whip in the top-flight. His first season of Premier League football was undoubtedly under-whelming; he managed just six goals in 35 league games, and looked somewhat out of his depth. But to his defence, the service into him and the number of chances he was getting were rather limited.
But with Almiron’s arrival, and rumours of potential new signings this summer like Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, Gayle could truly thrive as a member of our strikeforce. He would give us something completely different to what Rondon offers, and in this modern age, it’s the kind of versatility and flexibility that we need.
Just eight years after banging in the goals for Conference North side Bishop’s Stortford, next season could finally be Dwight Gayle’s time to shine on the biggest stage in English football.