Newcastle United briefing: Dwight Gayle's Premier League aim, big name linked to club

Newcastle's players celebrate
Newcastle's players celebrate

Rafa Benitez didn't want to risk Dwight Gayle.

But the striker was determined to get on the pitch for Newcastle United's final game of the season.

Gayle did that. And more.

And the rest is history.

Newcastle beat Barnsley 3-0 at St James's Park on Sunday to secure the Championship title.

Gayle has been speaking about the triumph and his memorable first season at St James's Park.

Dwight Gayle

Dwight Gayle

Here's your daily briefing:

Gayle force

Gayle set himself a target of 20 goals at the start of the season.

And despite missing large chunks of the second half of the campaign through injury, the 27-year-old bettered that target.

Newcastle's players celebrate

Newcastle's players celebrate

Gayle's strike against Barnsley took his goal tally for the season to 23.

“It’s my favourite season and my favourite end to a season," said Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace last summer.

"I was saying to a few of the boys ‘you’re going to remember this for the rest of your lives’.

“Winning things is the most important thing, and the fact that we won the Championship is a great achievement.

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure

“We’re all buzzing about it.”

Gayle also looked ahead to Newcastle's return to the Premier League.

“The most important thing for us was to get back up, but you have your personal targets and I reached that,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can push on for next season.”

Silly season?

Rafa Benitez has already been linked with a host of players.

But the latest reported target – former Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure – wouldn't come cheap.

United have been credited with an interest in Toure, who is out of contract at Manchester City in the summer.

Toure reportedly earns around £220,000 a week.

Benitez is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of the club's return to the Premier League, but he doesn't yet have a budget.

Newcastle's manager will discuss is on future, and attempt to agree a transfer budget, with owner Mike Ashley in a meeting this week.

The kids are all right

A second promotion is on the cards at United.

The club's Under-23 team last night reached the Premier League 2 Second Division play-off final.

Peter Beardsley's side beat Fulham 2-0 at St James's Park to reach the final, where they will meet West Ham United.

The game saw Haris Vuckic make a timely return from injury.

Jamie Holmes and Stuart Findlay were on target for Newcastle.

Benitez visited the dressing room before the game, and Beardsley has revealed the impact his pep talk had on his players.

The play-off final will be staged at St James's Park on Tuesday, May 16 (7pm kick-off).

And finally...

Barnsley striker Elliot Lee came off the bench late in the game at St James's Park – but his famous father wasn't there to see him turn out at his old stomping ground.

Lee is son of former United midfielder Rob.

The 22-year-old, born in the region during his dad's time at Newcastle, had a bittersweet afternoon on Tyneside.

Lee told The Star: "It was a great day – that club means a lot to me and my family.

“It is the second time I’ve got on there, because I got on while I was at West Ham two seasons ago and it’s a good place for me to come.

“No one came in the end from my family.

“My dad had a trip that was cancelled and he couldn’t make it in the end, but I’m sure they’ve all heard the news back home.

“It was obviously great to get 20 minutes or so. I had one or two shots that might have gone in on another day, but that’s how it is in football.

“Well played to Newcastle for winning the league.

“It was always going to be difficult for us. Newcastle, the stadium and the fans got on top of us, and it was sort of what we expected.

“I don’t think we played our best, but Newcastle got the job done, so well done to them."

"Like" our NUFC Facebook page here