The news that Dwight Gayle will be out until January after injuring his MCL must surely mean that the 29-year-old’s time on Tyneside is up given that his contract expires in the summer of 2021.
Looking back over the last four years, it has been rather stop-start for the striker since he arrived at St James’ Park from Crystal Palace, with the striker even spending one season on loan in the Championship with West Brom.
There is a feeling amongst Newcastle fans that perhaps Gayle is more suited to the rigours of the Championship than the demands of the Premier League. Indeed, you could envision a scenario where the forward ends up back in England’s second-tier next season, perhaps with Norwich who has been checking Gayle’s situation for a few months now.
How did he miss?!— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 28, 2020
Dwight Gayle hits it over from close range and misses the opportunity to get Newcastle back on level terms with Man City 😬#NEWMCI live:
Watch 📺 https://t.co/IQvwYDcJBg
Listen 🎧 https://t.co/HK5KFgBZKH
Follow 📲 https://t.co/9ogCerYlwt#bbcfacup pic.twitter.com/d9BCiyVFrm
Although with the Canaries at a 23/10 odds in English championship betting to take the flight back to the Premier League after only one season in the Championship, Gayle could be given a Championship reprieve. This is especially the case as the striker will be a free agent and an attractive acquisition for any newly promoted team looking to wheel and deal rather than splash the cash.
One thing’s for certain though and that is it looks for all money that Gayle’s future lies away from St James’ Park.
It doesn’t really feel like this is a case of what could have been when you consider that Gayle did exactly what was asked of him after Rafa Benitez signed him in the summer of 2016. The striker’s 23 goals in 32 appearances ensured Newcastle returned to the Premier League as champions of the Championship at the first time of asking.
It was only after the Magpies made such a sudden return to the Premier League that there were a few in the Newcastle boardroom who was at a loss of what to do with Gayle – the Championship goalscoring specialist. Benitez, of course, used him a lot in the Toon’s first season back, 35 league appearances as either a testament to the Spaniard’s faith in Gayle or the lack of options available to him. Either way, a return of just six goals meant Newcastle were open to the idea of loaning him out to the Championship the following season as Benitez turned to Salomon Rondon for goals instead.
Once Gayle’s West Brom loan came to an end there was talk of a permanent move. However, his injuries along with Newcastle always seeming to price him out the market stopped him from leaving despite wanting him gone.
As previously mentioned, Gayle’s Newcastle stay hasn’t been fluid going by any stretch of the imagination, but he will leave with his reputation enhanced still. Indeed, the 29-year-old’s defining impact during Newcastle’s trophy-winning season in the Championship will be remembered fondly by all of the Toon army.
As for the exact time of his departure from Newcastle, well, that is still to be decided but you wouldn’t put it past Mike Ashley trying to recoup some sort of fee for him in January instead of allowing him to leave for free in the summer.