Newcastle United will be turning their attention towards the summer transfer window after effectively securing their survival this season, and recent reports suggests a potential swap deal could satisfy all parties concerned.
With Fulham’s relegation to the Champioship confirmed after a 4-1 thrashing at Watford a few weeks ago, there is an acceptance that Alexsander Mitrovic will move on as he hit double figures for the Whites this season.
Their eyes have therefore been cast in the direction of a striker who has an excellent record in the Championship.
The 28-year-old is destined to leave Newcastle this summer and Gayle has suggested he would be willing to stay at the midlands club.
A swap deal with Salomon Rondon would appear to make sense on paper given both players have thrived on their respective loan spells this season.
However, if for some reason that deal falls through, Benitez should use Gayle as bait to land Fulham’s Tom Cairney, a player he has admired for a considerable length of time.
The Scottish international was a crucial part of the Fulham team promoted from the Championship last season, scoring the winning goal in the playoff final against Aston Villa.
He has struggled this season, however, and has been in and out of the team, scoring once and assisting once.
Cairney has a sublime left foot and is versatile able to play in all central midfield positions.
Newcastle have lacked creativity from the centre of the park this season with Mohamed Diame and Isaac Hayden mainly focusing on the defensive side of the game.
The Toon’s main creative threat, Jonjo Shelvey, has had a season blighted by injury and when he has played he has struggled to reach last year’s high standards which saw him touted for an England call-up.
The Scot would therefore provide that spark for Newcastle and his precise passing would be hugely beneficial for dynamic talents Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez.
Benitez was keen on Cairney in 2017 so it would be interesting to see if the Spaniard re-visits the possibility of signing him at the end of the season, as his addition would solve a creative problem in the Magpies midfield whilst also giving Fulham a guaranteed Championship goalscorer in Gayle.