Why West Brom signing Dwight Gayle would make a telling difference
According to The Shields Gazette, West Brom are exploring the possibility of signing a new striker when the transfer window reopens in January and the Baggies have identified Dwight Gayle as someone who fits the bill perfectly.
Gayle spent the entirety of the previous campaign on loan at the Hawthorns from Newcastle United and netted a staggering 24 goals to propel the club to the Championship playoffs, only for the Baggies to lose out to Midlands rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals.
West Brom were keen to bring the 28-year-old back to the club in the summer transfer window following his prolific run of form in the second-tier last season but the Baggies struggled to meet Newcastle’s asking price of £15-20 million. (h/t Shields Gazette)
Gayle is yet to play a part for Newcastle this season due to a calf injury but he will be expected to make his way into Steve Bruce’s plans when he returns to full fitness, given that manager had indicated earlier in the summer that he wants the striker to stay at Tyneside. (h/t Shields Gazette)
Looking back at West Brom’s summer business, with a number of key players departing the club at the end of the previous season, including the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Gayle, the Baggies splashed the cash to bring in the likes of Charlie Austin and Kenneth Zohore from Southampton and Cardiff City to plug the holes up top.
While Zohore has already scored twice, Austin is yet to find the net in the Championship and Bilic might have his work cut out in guiding the team to promotion if either of the two frontmen fails to deliver the goods consistently in front of goal.
Agreed, West Brom have the likes of Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira, Matt Phillips and Filip Korvinovic to add that creative edge and X-Factor to their attack, but goals will need to flow regularly over the entirety of the campaign if the Baggies are to make it to the Premier League next summer.
To put things into perspective, Dwight Gayle, though a pretty ordinary striker by the Premier League standards, has shown in the recent past that he has the pedigree to demolish defences and rack up goals consistently in the Championship.
Gayle single-handedly propelled Newcastle back to the Premier League in the 2016-17 season with 23 goals and came agonisingly close to repeating the same feat with West Brom the last term.
The 28-year-old boasts of an impressive tally of 59 goals in 100 appearances for all clubs in the Championship and it should be a virtual no-brainer for the Baggies to bring him back to the club in January.
With all due respect to Austin and Zohore, West Brom need a 20-goal a season striker to guarantee promotion and going by what we have seen of them thus far, neither of them looks capable of hitting those heights.
Gayle, on the other hand, is very much in his prime and, more importantly, a bonafide goalscorer in the Championship. Given that he still has 18 months remaining on his contract at Newcastle, the Baggies are unlikely to be able to nab him on the cheap in January but that should not deter their interest in the 28-year-old.
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With that in mind, West Brom are probably wise enough to know that a potential deal for Dwight Gayle in January might as well prove to the difference between promotion glory and another long and hard slog in the Championship.