As many will have read, Steve Bruce followed up a story by The Athletic by all but confirming Dwight Gayle is close to putting pen to paper over a new contract at St James’ Park.
A couple of years ago or perhaps under Rafa it would have been unthinkable to see Mike Ashley’s NUFC give a 31-year-old a three-year contract – especially during a season where we’ve needed a striker and he’s never been effectively used.
But whilst appearing a bit bizarre, it does actually make plenty of sense. If we go down, he’s a proven Championship striker for next season and one that would be happy to stay in those circumstances as he’d probably be given significant game time.
On the other hand, if we stay up this should allow us to at least get a fee for a player who would’ve otherwise left on a free; despite being a player Championship sides would’ve paid £10m plus for not long ago!
I’m not sure how much we’d get, but the old adage of something is better than nothing seems to be the reasoning even if he’s only started just four Premier League games all season. Of course, he might now bang in a few goals as he did at the back end of last season, but that’s highly unlikely for many reasons.
Not least of which is the return of Callum Wilson and ASM, not to mention the fact Big Joe’s performance and goal against Spurs should send him ahead of Gayle in the pecking order.
This is another reason to wonder why he’s got a new THREE-year contract, mind. Particularly when we refused to give a 29-year-old Rondon a permanent deal a few years ago because he was “too old” despite the season he had. Of course, in all this you can’t even rule out that it’s another Ashley dig at Rafa, showing that as an owner he can do what he wants.
However, and remember he’s taken a pay cut as well, it sort of covers our back. Whether it be for Championship football in a worst-case scenario or staying in the Premiership and receiving a fee to add to a budget for next season that may need all the money injection it can get.