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Opinion

He’s not prolific but he could be ideal for Newcastle United next season

4 months ago
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An interesting conversation the other day, where I was speaking to someone about which players Newcastle United should be keeping for next season, pressed me into thinking what the regulars on The Mag thought about one player in particular.

The exchange was more idle chit chat than actual full on debate, as I stated that any buying or selling would depend on the mythical takeover coming to pass.

We will be shopping in a different store if all of a sudden a progressive and ambitious regime take the club off the mundane, stagnant and destructive ownership of Mike Ashley.

However, regardless of that, the squad has some decent players in it and all is not lost.

Ripping up a squad never works and (like it or not) some of the current players will have to stay, even if they aren’t great, but nevertheless I got to the problematic position that we all agree we have a massive problem in, which is centre forward and in particular, Dwight Gayle.

Now we all know he’s not a top Premier League striker but I feel he can be a good second striker or back up striker. It would be easy to say that we should be aspiring to better and I would agree, but only in part. He certainly wouldn’t be bad to have on the bench.

Joelinton is a write off as a goal scorer and personally, I don’t think he’s good enough in his natural position further out wide, but I digress. Andy Carroll should never had been brought back to the club, let alone be given an extension for next season as he’s a waste of a shirt, so the bare minimum we need is one goal getter, ideally two.

Next season (if he wants to stay) Dwight Gayle will have to be relied upon at some point. His ability in the Championship is beyond doubt and any club looking to mount a promotion charge would be mad to look further than him. His goals were vital in our Championship promotion season and that was when he should have been either cashed in on and money spent on an adequate replacement, or used in a system where his goals aren’t the be all and end all.

That would have required an adequate recruitment team and not the clowns that we have as scouts or the restrictive policy of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United, a policy that curtailed the squad build that former manager Rafa Benitez had in mind.

One of the problems of Rafa Benitez’ set up was that he was quite defensive. Mind you, he had a system and it worked so I didn’t mind so much, a means to an end you could say and a far cry from what we have now,

That year’s recruitment produced one good thing, the excellent loan signing of Salomon Rondon, a signing that should have been made permanent as with Miguel AlmironĀ  the team clicked and you could only imagine what damage a trio of Rondon, Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin could cause.

Rafa Benitez’ system didn’t include Dwight Gayle, at least not in a front two, as he didn’t play two up top. The club making it a condition of Rondon coming in that Gayle must go out on loan left options thin on the ground and required loan signings that January to give the team a boost, something which seems to be a repeated policy under Ashley, rather than building a squad for the start of the season to compete properly.

In Dwight Gayle, I see a carbon copy of a former Newcastle United striker, Craig Bellamy. The similarities are uncanny. Cast your minds back and Craig Bellamy nearly always required five chances to score a goal, he would spurn them left, right and centre. Shots would hit the keeper, the post, go over the bar and the team would be bailed out back then by Alan Shearer who was more a one in three chance ratio sort of striker but boy did the two complement each other perfectly. With the sheer power and prolific nature of Alan, Bellamy provided the legs and pace to stretch defences and if a defender tracked Bellamy, Shearer would have to be watched more closely and vice versa. No wonder they scored bucket loads.

I see Dwight Gayle forming a similar partnership with someone and felt an opportunity was missed with a certain Salomon Rondon. If you’re going to play two, Rondon is the sort of striker we need to get our hands on this summer. If you’re playing just one up front then that sort of striker is STILL the only way to go.

Now, I think signing Salomon Rondon has passed. He’s not necessarily too old, just too old for this regime and if the takeover goes ahead (don’t laugh at that) I think a more progressive and younger striker will be sought. Danny Ings would have been my pick but I don’t think we can attract him, certainly not with Southampton looking a better club than us at present, without a takeover that is.

I’ve looked at the relegated clubs and there isn’t a lot that I would take. I like the idea of signing Callum Wilson from Bournemouth and while I think we could prise Callum away from the relegated club, if any competition comes in for him that will be us out of the running. It wouldn’t be a sure fire thing as he’s hardly prolific but even in a relegated side he’s shown more than Andy Carroll, Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto combined.

But with that, I’ll defend Dwight Gayle.

He’s not prolific but he could be ideal for us next season (regardless of who owns us), he shouldn’t just be binned off, but it all depends on IF the rest of the recruitment is right.

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