Reports from the print edition of today’s Sunday Sun (page 58) hint at a potential disaster for Newcastle United.
What’s the story?
They claim Dwight Gayle is willing to let his £75kp/w contract run down at St. James’ Park as he eyes one more big move in his career, with a return to former club Crystal Palace reportedly in his sights.
Why would it be a disaster?
Last season was an important one in Gayle’s career.
Often labeled as one of the players too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier League, the 31-year-old proved a hugely important member of Steve Bruce’s attack.
Only two players at St. James’ Park bettered his six goal contributions in 2019/20 and, upon returning from injury this time out, he bagged a crucial winner during an otherwise nervy win over West Bromwich Albion.
A capable threat at the level Newcastle are currently fighting in, neither Joelinton nor Andy Carroll look as good even as back-ups to Callum Wilson. Over the last season-and-a-half combined, they haven’t scored as many as Gayle.
To replace him would surely cost a fair amount of money and Mike Ashley is reported to have told Bruce there was little to spend as it is as he attempts to keep the balance books in order should a takeover ultimately go through.
Indeed, The Athletic recently estimated signing a sufficient replacement would set the club back well over £10m.
Could you blame the player?
At 31, he may not get the chance to command a Premier League contract again so, with Fulham and teams in the Middle East also linked with a move, options to get one final major payday look as if they will arise.
With Wilson the main striker at Newcastle now, it’d be hard to blame Gayle for wanting to try his luck elsewhere while making the most of the remaining years of his career.
Newcastle simply have to try and keep Gayle if the current regime remains in place.
They’re understood to want to do exactly that but, ultimately, it’s up to the club to offer him a deal worthy of keeping him at St. James’ Park.
If they don’t, they seriously run the risk of strengthening a potential rival towards the bottom of the Premier League along with depriving Bruce of valuable firepower in support of Wilson.