Newcastle recently parted ways with manager Steve Bruce following just over two years at the helm at St James’ Park after replacing Rafael Benitez.
One criticism of Bruce could be the development of players under his watch. Experienced centre-forward Dwight Gayle , who turned 32 earlier this month, was a prime example of this as his market value plummeted from the manager’s arrival all the way through to the present day.
In the summer that Bruce arrived at Newcastle, Gayle was coming off the back of a sensational season for West Brom in the Championship. He smashed in 23 goals and provided eight assists in 39 appearances for the Baggies, whilst also scoring one goal in one game in the play-offs.
Kyle Bartley, who was his teammate at the time, hailed the striker’s movement as ‘immense’ and stressed the importance of keeping him fit. He said: “Dwight is a proven goalscorer and he is always going to get you goals and his work-rate off the ball is also immense.”
Bartley added: “He is brilliant, he is going to get lots of goals this year. We’ve just got to make sure he stays fit and keeps putting them in the back of the net for us.”
In the summer of 2019 at the end of his loan spell, Transfermarkt valued Gayle at a whopping £13.5m – the highest value he has had to date. Bruce came through the door and had a red-hot striker at the peak of his career but was unable to get the best out of him.
He only started 10 Premier League seasons in the manager’s first campaign at the club, scoring four goals and providing two assists. His game-time became all the more limited in his second season under Bruce, with four starts and 14 substitute appearances in the top flight resulting in only one goal and one assist.
This suggests that he did not get enough minutes on the pitch to prove his worth. He managed five goals and three assists in 14 league starts overall across the two seasons, which shows that he had the quality to provide in the final third when given opportunities.
At the time of writing (27/10/21), the Newcastle dynamo is valued at just £3.6m by Transfermarkt. This means that his value has plummeted £9.9m in just two years of football under Bruce. The 60-year-old could not extract the striker’s best qualities or help him to push on and has ended up wasting the best years of the player’s career; and his legacy with Gayle is leaving Newcastle with an ageing striker who is now on a downwards spiral.