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Newcastle United must keep Dwight Gayle for depth this season

Roy Emanuel
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:54 IST

Newcastle United Training Session
Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle

Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez know that a quality striker up front will be a major difference this season between challenging for the top half of the Premier League table and battling against relegation. Salomón Rondón is an intriguing target, but the Magpies know that they can’t give up too much to sign him.

The Chronicle reported this weekend that Benitez rejected a potential offer from West Brom that involved forward Dwight Gayle heading to The Hawthorns, and ultimately this was the right decision from the Spanish coach. While adding reinforcements for the front-line is a top priority during this summer’s transfer window, losing Gayle would still leave the Toon with a problem at the position.

Gayle’s time at St. James’ Park has been one of early production, followed by questions amongst supporters. The 28-year-old signed two years ago after a stint with Crystal Palace and was tasked with helping Newcastle back to the top flight. He was given the number nine shirt, and the pressure that comes with it is legendary. However, he was able to thrive in that first campaign (23 goals).

A strong run in the Championship returned Newcastle to the Premier League, and he was ready to show that his goalscoring numbers could be replicated in the first division. But that did not take place, as Gayle netted only six goals during the 2017-18 term. Despite this drop, Benitez knows that depth will be a key issue for the upcoming months.

Rondón is an interesting option, and Newcastle have reportedly been in talks with West Brom to make a potential move happen (Rolando Aarons was said to have been offered to the Baggies as part of a deal). With size and strength, he is the type of striker that could be quite successful in Benitez’s system.

West Brom were believed to be looking to add Gayle for a season-long loan, as opposed to a permanent contract. This makes sense from the perspective that the club will be looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first asking. Even this type of scenario where Gayle returns to Newcastle would leave them in trouble for the current campaign.

With Aleksandar Mitrovic on his way out soon, the Magpies do not have many options at striker if Gayle were to depart. Benitez could look to Joselu or academy product Adam Armstrong, but they would be risky selections for significant minutes.

Newcastle United feel that Salomón Rondón could provide a boost at forward. That may be true, although Dwight Gayle will still need to play a role within the team.

Published 23 Jul 2018, 22:48 IST
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