Steve Bruce has confirmed Newcastle United will do “everything we can” to stop striker Dwight Gayle from leaving St. James’ Park at the end of the season.
Gayle has entered into the final six months of his £40,000-per-week contract, but Bruce hopes to keep the 30-year-old on Tyneside for the foreseeable future following his return from injury.
The ex-Crystal Palace hitman made his campaign debut in Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to West Bromwich Albion, and brought a decisive touch to the field by heading home Jacob Murphy’s inch-perfect cross to net the winner.
Bruce had been without Gayle for the opening months of the season after the £7.2m-rated forward sustained MCL damage during the Toon’s pre-season training camp, forcing the Toon to push on with plans to sign Callum Wilson from AFC Bournemouth.
Heading home the winner against West Brom only increased Bruce’s admiration for Gayle, who he hopes will sign a new contract in the imminent future.
“Certainly, we’ll do everything we can to get him tied up,” Bruce said, via quotes by the Chronicle. “Obviously, he’s been struggling with an injury, but I think we’ll do our best and I hope that he can stay.”
No matter how much Bruce talks up his aspirations of retaining Gayle beyond the end of his current contract, Magpies owner Mike Ashley must step in and stop Newcastle from making a kneejerk reaction to the 30-year-old’s match-winning return to action.
Gayle, who former West Bromwich Albion boss Slaven Bilic praised as an “instrumental” forward the Baggies hoped to sign in 2019, has not been that for Newcastle often enough to warrant a new contract being placed before him yet.
He has never managed to replicate or better his return of seven Premier League goals achieved in the 2013/14 season with Crystal Palace, with hauls of five and three following in the immediate two campaigns before moving to Newcastle in 2016.
Goals were free-flowing in black and white in the Championship to inspire the Magpies’ promotion, but flopped once back in the top-flight with a Toon-best return of six in 35 games.
Gayle delivered signs of promise following the restart last season with four goals in eight matches after going 12 appearances without scoring, and only repeating his form from after the enforced break will the former Arsenal trainee truly deserve the contract Bruce wishes to place before him having proven he can bring consistency to his game in the North East.