That’s according to a recent report by The Telegraph, who revealed that, although the 32-year-old sealed a free transfer to the Potters in July – despite having two years remaining on his contract at St. James’ Park – Newcastle’s owners are still paying a whopping £40k of the centre-forward’s £60k-per-week wage.
The report goes on to state that this is because the Championship side were struggling to meet FFP regulations and could not afford a move for the striker unless the Magpies were willing to offer a cut-price deal – something that it is now evident PIF decided was the best option for Eddie Howe’s side.
While it is true that, following his £10m signing in the summer of 2016, Gayle played a starring role in the club’s promotion back to the top flight – scoring 23 goals over 32 Championship appearances in 2016/17 – considering just how little the 32-year-old offered the Magpies in the time since, his signing must be considered as one of Mike Ashley’s worst pieces of transfer business.
Indeed, following their promotion-winning campaign, the £1.35m-rated centre-forward found the back of the net just 11 times over his 81 appearances in the Premier League – an average of one goal every 303 minutes of top-flight football played for the Magpies – something that clearly demonstrates the striker was not up to the standards required for England’s top tier.
However, despite his dwindling returns of both goals and appearances year-on-year at Newcastle, Ashley baffled the club’s fanbase when he handed the £60k-per-week forward a new three-year deal in the summer of 2021 – something that was, rather understandably, met with widespread disdain from the St. James’ Park faithful.
Indeed, in the season following Gayle’s contract extension, the 32-year-old would play a grand total of 30 minutes of Premier League football, over which he scored no goals, before the club’s new owners finally cut ties with the striker this summer – albeit while still paying him a princely £40k a week.
As such, when considering that the player who Matt Murphy dubbed “shocking” cost Newcastle £29m in wages and fees during his 316-week spell in the North East, in addition to a further £4m over the 101 weeks remaining on his Newcastle contract while playing for Stoke, it is clear to see that the £33m invested in Gayle was well and truly money wasted by Ashley.