Dwight Gayle's extended Newcastle United stay explained after Stoke City transfer

Eddie Howe has has said some very nice things about Dwight Gayle. So too did Steve Bruce.

Gayle – who today joined Stoke City on a free transfer – was labelled by Howe last season as one of the best finishers that Newcastle United’s head coach had ever worked with in his managerial career.

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Eddie Howe issues Newcastle United transfer update on Dwight Gayle

Speaking in Austria last week, Howe reiterated this view. Howe said: “I said from day one, from my perspective, I had a great relationship with him, and I love working with him.”

Bruce, for his part, revealed that he had tried to sign Gayle three times after taking over as head coach three years ago.

However, Gayle picked up an injury during the club’s pre-season tour of China – and he scored for goals from 22 appearances in 2019/20.

There were fewer appearances the following season – and fewer still last term, despite Howe’s appreciation of Gayle’s abilities inside the box.

Gayle played just 14 minutes of Premier League football under Howe last season. He had only fared a little better under Bruce before his departure last October.

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Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle.

And this, let’s not forget, is a player who had signed a new three-year contract last summer, when the club was still owned by Mike Ashley.

Gayle, arguably, should have left the club years ago for the sake of his own career, but he was essentially unaffordable, having been given a pay rise before joining West Bromwich Albion on loan for what would turn out to be Rafa Benitez’s last season at Newcastle.

Benitez, having wisely recruited Gayle following the club’s relegation from the Premier League in 2016, seemingly wanted to phase him out four years ago when he signed Solomon Rondon on loan.

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Yet, following Benitez’s departure, Gayle stayed – and hardly played. Only now, with the club’s new owners willing to let him go on a free transfer, has Gayle finally left.

It’s not that there have been a lack of suitors in recent years, it’s just that his admirers couldn’t afford his wages.

Gayle, a player who served United well in the early part of his career at the club, can now restart his career – and the club can sign a player capable of playing many more minutes this season.