West Brom are ‘pushing hard’ to complete a loan deal with an option to buy for Dwight Gayle, according to the Telegraph – but they’ll face stiff competition from both Leeds and Stoke.
Steve Bruce made it clear that Gayle was in his plans in an interview over the weekend, however the Telegraph’s Jason Burt claims today that the striker was left ‘upset’ by being stripped of the no.9 shirt following Joelinton’s arrival.
The piece states that Gayle would be happy to return to the Hawthorns after enjoying his spell their last season, but suggests it’s not yet clear if they could afford to pay his wage demands.
I can see why he’d be open to leaving, with the likes of Joelinton, Almiron, and Saint-Maximin likely to seriously limit his game time this season, however it doesn’t sound like Bruce was willing to let him leave when he spoke on Saturday.
Here’s what Bruce had to say about Gayle after our pre-season win over St-Etienne over the weekend:
“I want to keep him. Realistically, where can we improve on him?
“As I keep saying, you’re only as good as your strikers. In that areas we need a threat and Gayle has always been part of my plans.
“It’s a calf injury and it’s not reacting to treatment yet. We hoped he’d be ready after China but he’s gone backwards. It’s a disappointment because I like him. I’ve tried to buy him before but not been able to afford him!”
After scoring just shy of 50 goals in his last two stints in the second tier, it’s easy to see why West Brom, Leeds and Stoke all want him, however it seems crystal clear to me that we’ll only let him go if we sign a replacement.
Yes we have a few attacking options, but with us set to play a 3-5-2 formation next season, we’ll need more than just Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin and Muto – especially when just one of those four is an out and out centre-forward.