Newcastle United are facing a now or never decision on Dwight Gayle’s Tyneside future, with West Bromwich Albion reportedly open to signing the striker for free next summer.
According to Birmingham Live’s Joe Chapman, while speaking with the Chronicle, several West Brom club chiefs would love to lure Gayle back to the Hawthorns following his successful loan spell at the club in 2018/19.
The Baggies sought to keep Gayle for a second season but were unable to finalise a move for financial reasons, with the striker netting £40,000-per-week at St. James’ Park and Newcastle chasing a £20million fee.
Stoke City and Fulham were also keen to sign Gayle last year, who remained on Tyneside but struggled to establish himself under Steve Bruce until after the Premier League season was postponed in March as injuries forever dented his comeback.
Gayle made 20 Premier League outings last season but started just 10, while scoring each of his four goals after action resumed in June. He is yet to feature this term, with the former Crystal Palace marksman sidelined through a knee injury sustained in pre-season training.
The issue has not discouraged West Brom club chiefs from monitoring Gayle’s situation, as interest would be firm should he leave St. James’ Park as a free agent when his Toon contract expires at the end of the season.
West Brom would be expected to offer the 30-year-old a pay-as-you-play deal, given his relentless injuries, as he is still well-regarded among the Hawthorns fanbase from his 24-goal season that fell short in the Play-Off semi-finals.
West Brom sniffing around Gayle’s situation must spark Newcastle chiefs to sit up and discuss the striker’s future, as they risk losing the £7.2m-rated man for nothing if they do not secure a mid-season move.
It is unlikely that Gayle will be offered a new contract at St. James’ Park having demonstrated little since arriving in 2016 to suggest he can cut it regularly in the Premier League, even if Bruce lauds the striker for having the “invaluable” knack of knowing how to score, as his four-goal haul from last term fell just two short of his Magpies’ best.
Freeing Gayle’s wages will also help Bruce to sign a supporting striker who he can rely on week in, week out with Callum Wilson accounting for seven of Newcastle’s 12 Premier League goals so far this season. A trend the Toon cannot maintain if they wish to achieve anything more than survival.
But the ball will be in Gayle’s court, as he will know that leaving in the summer will open more doors than being hurried out of the North East in the winter having not played a single minute since last season.