Is Dwight Gayle the key to Newcastle's 'stalled' move for Salomon Rondon?
Dwight Gayle says he's "loving" playing Premier League football for Newcastle United '“ so why would he drop down into the Championship?
That question could prove pivotal to the club's hopes of signing Salomon Rondon.
Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion have been involved in lengthy talks over the striker, who has a Â£16.5million release clause in his contract.
United have know the price all summer, yet the club hasn't activated his clause. The club, which last week sold Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham in a Â£20million deal, seem unwilling to pay that much for a player who will turn 29 soon.
Yet Rafa Benitez, having to sell to buy this summer, wants Rondon, and he's even prepared to sacrifice Gayle, the club's No 9, to get him. A swap deal has been mooted, but Gayle would have to agree to a move.
Newcastle's manager was coy on Gayle's future after leaving him on the bench against Porto at the weekend.
Gayle, however, was more forthcoming when asked about speculation over his future earlier this month.
“I’m loving it here," said the 27-year-old. "My family’s all set. For the time being, if the gaffer’s happy with me, I’m happy at to stay.”
Gayle was expecting Benitez to sign another striker this summer, but he wasn't necessarily expecting to be sacrificed to make a move happen.
Asked about the club's search for another striker, he said: “Of course, we want to improve the team, and I understand that we’re going to bring in other players to improve the team. It’s all part of football. It happens, and you have to prove to the gaffer that you’re the right person to start.”
Gayle has three years left on his United contract, and he could well opt to stay and fight for his place.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports claim that Newcastle's moved for Rondon has "stalled".