The story this weekend was that Dwight Gayle could be off to West Brom.
It was claimed across the media that the Baggies had approached Newcastle with an offer to loan him for the season.
I’m not sure how this story makes sense in any way and was being reported as a ‘cheeky’ loan bid.
I doubt very much there was any truth in it, as why would West Brom think that Newcastle would be up for loaning out their only current out and out striker who could potentially score goals?
It is about as believable as the recent Salomon Rondon transfer claim.
Where supposedly Newcastle had made a ‘cut-price offer’ for Rondon, where instead of paying his £16.5m release clause, instead £19m would be paid in total. The ‘cut-price’ deal being to pay a £4m loan fee and then another £15m to make it permanent next summer.
This media story also conveniently ignoring the fact that Salomon Rondon only has a year left to run on his West Brom contract.
Also, the striker turns 30 in September 2019, so we are supposed to either believe that next summer Mike Ashley would be tied into paying that chunk of cash to make it a £19m total fee for somebody set to turn 30 and have zero resale value, or that West Brom would let the striker go out on loan (after presumably extending his Baggies contract) with there being no watertight clause whereby Newcastle had to buy next summer. The Championship club then risking being left with a 30 year old striker who has lost pretty much all of his transfer value.
This is what we are left with in this ever more depressing transfer window.
Newcastle fans watching on as Rafa Benitez has to go through pre-season training preparations and games without the new striker he desperately wants.
I find it disheartening enough that it appears Salomon Rondon is probably the best level of forward signing we can hope for at this stage, somebody who has scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, doesn’t exactly suggest he will score for fun in a Newcastle team that has had next to no investment in it this summer.
Trying to be positive, I could maybe see Rondon and Dwight Gayle playing together as a possible partnership that could get goals, but I struggle to see Rafa shifting from his insistence on playing only one up front. I’m not blaming the manager because you can understand that if he isn’t backed to bring in better attacking options so Newcastle can go more on the front foot, he will have to continue with his policy of making it tough for the opposition to score and relying largely on counter-attacks.
It is scarcely believable that if indeed Salomon Rondon is the striker Rafa Benitez has decided on, that he isn’t even able to sign him straight away by triggering that £16.5m release clause. Even if Ashley won’t allow the manager any transfer funds and Rafa (wrongly) has to finance signings through sales, surely the NUFC owner should at least see the common sense in letting Rafa get his striker now so he can be part of pre-season, with then the likes of Mitrovic surely set to leave and fund Rondon’s transfer?
There has also predictably been talk of making it a swap deal, with supposedly Gayle plus cash for Rondon. I’m not convinced that would be any improvement and you are then left with a situation where surely you would have to then bring in another striker, with Mitrovic set to leave. The thought of Joselu as your only out and out striker cover is a frightening one, just as it was last season. Yes he tries hard but his entire career tells you e won’t score goals.
In only nine days time Newcastle play their second last friendly (Braga on Wednesday 1 August) of the season and even if by some miracle Rondon and/or other signings are made in the next day or two, I think it would be unlikely they’d be involved much in those friendlies, with maybe only the final one (home v Augsburg on 4 August) a strong possibility.
At this moment in time, quite amazingly Newcastle United look set to start the season with the exact same team who played those final few months of last season, with potentially Ki Sung-yueng the only addition on the bench when we meet Spurs on the opening day.
You really couldn’t make it up.