It looks increasingly likely that Dwight Gayle has played his last competitive game for Newcastle united.
Rafa Benitez is set to make some big calls with only 11 days until transfer deadline day, as he tries to conjure up a team/squad that can survive in the Premier League this coming season.
Gayle’s departure looking very much as though it is going to be one of those big calls.
Joselu has started all three friendlies so far, in the single striker role.
Dwight Gayle limited to only the second-half at St Patrick’s Athletic in the 2-0 victory.
He was left out of the squad altogether for the 2-2 draw at Hull, then at Porto last night, Rafa Benitez chose to not use him.
After the very fortunate 0-0 draw (Newcastle didn’t force the home keeper to make a save), Rafa Benitez was asked if Dwight Gayle was injured.
The United boss replying: ‘No. (It is because) We have too many players…and we have to manage the players that we have. There were three or four players that didn’t play tonight.’
Obviously Rafa Benitez never tells lies BUT he does stretch the truth at times.
The other players who didn’t get a game were third choice keeper Rob Elliot and kids, Victor Fernandez and Josef Yarney.
Dwight Gayle featured in 35 of Newcastle’s 38 Premier League matches last season and leaving him out of these friendly games surely tells us the striker is set to leave. If Gayle was any part of Rafa’s plans then he would have come on last night, rather than the likes of Adam Armstrong and Callum Roberts, or of course actually started the match.
It looks as though Rafa is making sure Dwight Gayle stays injury free, so he can be sold to help fund another striker purchase, or even potentially be part of a swap deal, with Salomon Rondon appearing to be a good bet.
Last night, Sky Sports’ Keith Downie also had a word with the manager about Dwight Gayle, Downie saying ‘Rafa Benitez has just confirmed to me he still needs another striker after the capture of Muto and sale of Mitrović. Asked him if that included keeping Gayle and he said “it depends.”
This is anything but ideal, for the manager to be forced into having to wait so late to bring in the attacking players he desperately wanted/needed.
Rafa Benitez has already told us that players he is going for now, aren’t first or second choice on his list for any position but instead way down.
With Yoshinori Muto still waiting for the work permit and another striker still yet to be signed, the manager is set to hopefully get new attacking options, but ones who he will have had no pre-season preparation with.
Another classic Mike Ashley manoeuvre, making it as difficult as possible for his manager ahead of what looks a very competitive Premier League season.