Rafa Benitez seems to have a calm approach to the transfer window this summer. The squad at his disposal is not the strongest in the league but the manager helped them to a place in the top half of the table last season. However, Rafa needs some upgrades in his first team if he is to repeat or improve on his side’s performances last season.
This has seen them linked with a number of star players for a move this summer, but the Spaniard is also busy, trying to retain players who will be crucial for his side next season. One such player, who is extensively attracting interest from elsewhere is Dwight Gayle.
The Magpies are interested in West Brom star Salomon Rondon and are ready to do what it takes to land him this summer. However, the Baggies are in no mood to let him go on the cheap and have constantly knocked back several offers from United this summer. And reports now suggest that West Brom have asked Newcastle United to make Gayle a part of the deal to land Rondon this summer.
Gayle moved to St James’ Park in 2016 from Crystal Palace after the Magpies were relegated and he was crucial in Rafa’s side strolling their way to the Championship title in 2017, getting the club back to the top flight in the first time of asking.
The versatile attacker scored 23 league goals that season and was expected to make a similar impact on the Premier League last season. However, Gayle only managed six goals and three assists, in 23 starts and was not too impressive for Rafa’s liking.
So it does not come as a surprise that the manager is desperate to add another striker to his side, to improve competition for places, which has seen them scout for Rondon. But if they lose Gayle as a part of the deal to land the Venezuelan striker, it brings the squad at St James’ back to square one.
At 27, the Walthamstow born striker sits into Rafa’s style of play pretty well and will hit his peak as a footballer in the next couple of years. He is sure to make an impact at Hawthorns but playing in the Premier League will be more of a challenge that he should be facing at this stage of his career.
West Brom will have a huge asset in Gayle if they sign him, but it makes sense for Rafa to hold on to the striker, and not use him to land his top transfer target in Rondon this summer.