The Newcastle United player most likely to leave in January's transfer window – and it's NOT Dwight Gayle

Steve Bruce wants to move out “two or three” players next month – but that will be easier said than done.

Bruce spoke about the January transfer window after Newcastle United’s 2-1 defeat to Everton at St James’s Park on Saturday. The result left the club 11th in the Premier League ahead of the New Year’s Day home game against Leicester City.

Bruce – who suggested last month that midfield was an area he would like to strengthen – has repeatedly attempted to manage expectations on Tyneside ahead of the window. The club, we know, has been looking at the loan market.

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United’s head coach said: “I won’t act unless it is going to improve the team.”

Dwight Gayle.

“We’d have to make way for somebody if we were bringing somebody in,” said Bruce. “I might have to let two or three go if we’re going to make changes.”

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Midfielders Jack Colback and Henri Saivet didn’t make the cut and are available for transfer. Colback’ is in the final year of his contract, and his wages are an issue for clubs. One option would be to agree a settlement with the 30-year-old.

A more likely departure is 30-year-old midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who made the squad but has found himself on the fringes under Bruce in the final year of his deal.

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Steve Bruce.

Bruce said: “If you’re not paying regularly when you get to a certain age, you’re entitled to knock down the door.”

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A clutch of Championship clubs would love to sign Dwight Gayle, who scored 24 goals for loan club West Bromwich Albion last season.

Newcastle turned down a £15million bid from Fulham in the summer of 2017, but Gayle had a pay rise last summer before moving to The Hawthorns – and the club doesn’t believe any team in the Championship can pay a fee and take on his contract.

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As such, the feeling is that Gayle is more likely to stay at St James’s Park.

Ki Sung-yueng.
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There’s also a question mark over the future of 27-year-old forward Yoshinori Muto, who has played just 111 minutes of Premier League football so far this season.