Twelve months ago, 27-year-old Dwight Gayle arrived on Tyneside hailed as the club’s next great ‘Number 9’ as Newcastle United looked to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. With 23 goals in 32 Championship appearances, the former Crystal Palace striker’s claims that he delivered have some substance.
But it’s not enough for Rafa Benitez with the Magpies boss looking to offload the Walthamstow-born striker and bring in Liverpool’s Belgian international, Divock Origi, 22. Gayle will not however, be sold if the Spaniard cannot find a ready-made replacement for the striker.
When he departs – and being omitted from the squad for the weekend’s victory over West Ham – Gayle will become the 32nd player to leave St James Park in the last twelve months; a phenomenal turnover of staff by any standards.
The Magpies wage bill is in the region of £100m and Benitez has been tasked with reducing the size of his squad by owner Mike Ashley. The pair differ in their approach to the transfer market, with Benitez complaining that the ground was shifting under his feet as the funds made available were less than he had been led to believe.