Steve Bruce is setting Newcastle United up to fail long-term as Dwight Gayle will be forced to reconsider his future amid rumoured interest from Galatasaray.
According to the Sunday Mirror (14/3, p. 68), the Super Lig giants, who signed DeAndre Yedlin on Deadline Day last month, are now keen on a move to snap up Gayle this summer.
Yedlin sealed a free transfer to the Turk Telekom Stadium having otherwise been a free agent at the end of the season, and could be reunited with Gayle who similarly is in the final months of his United contract.
Galatasaray are interested in bolstering their offence with a move for Gayle, but may face strong competition from Turkey’s other elite clubs with a host of Super Lig outfits also thought to be monitoring the 31-year-old’s situation.
Gayle also has admirers in Qatar and Saudi Arabia with his £40,000-per-week contract set to expire in June, while The Athletic claimed earlier this month that the forward is unlikely to be offered a long-term deal to remain at St. James’ Park.
Tentative talks have taken place over new terms, but Gayle’s age and record of injuries that have sidelined the striker for a third of the past two seasons combined have brought hesitancy from the Toon hierarchy.
Gayle, for his part, is open to staying on Tyneside and is aware that any new deal is likely to be his last at the club, despite attracting interest from the Middle East, Turkey, Europe and Major League Soccer franchises recently.
Championship sides are also likely to look fondly on the skill of a forward, whom Bruce lauds as a “natural finisher”, should Gayle hit the market as a free agent at the end of the season, but the £7m-rated attacker would favour a fresh start if another Premier League spell is off the table.
Gayle has often left a lot to the imagination with his performances this season and has struggled to find any real form due to Bruce rarely playing the striker and when he does, it is often not in his favoured position.
Gayle has only made five of his 13 outings in all competitions this season as an out-and-out striker and of those appearances, only two have come in the starting line-up with opening calls against Chelsea and Aston Villa in the absence of Callum Wilson through injury.
Bruce’s decision to start Gayle on the left-wing before a move into a false nine role for the second half against Aston Villa last Friday particularly backfired, as the London-born forward cut an invisible and frustrated figure often too far out to pose any attacking threat.
The Toon boss argued following the 1-1 draw that the decision to play Gayle out of position was so Newcastle could continue with the system developed around Allan Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Miguel Almiron. And showed no signs that he intends to change that.
“We’ve played a certain way now for the past six, seven weeks. I spoke briefly on it last week, of not trying to change the shape of us, the way we’ve gone about how we’re trying to play,” Bruce said, via quotes by Chronicle Live.
“I’ll be a bit more technical and say we’re playing with split strikers if you like, but that’s the way we’ve gone about our work and I changed him and Ryan just after half-time. That’s the way we’ve set up and that’s the way we’re going to continue.”
But sticking with square pegs for round holes is not working for Newcastle, and Gayle will surely start to reconsider his willingness to stay at a club where chances to feature are slim if Bruce is not open to playing the man who Noel Whelan calls a “weapon” where he performs best.
Bruce allowing Gayle – who has more goals over the past two Premier League seasons (5) than Andy Carroll (1) and Joelinton (3) combined – to leave will also set Newcastle up to fail long-term, as the club are expected to be light on funds to sign replacements and have plenty of other starts set to be out of contract in the off-season.