Earlier this year, there was some news that Newcastle were hesitant to offer Dwight Gayle a new contract despite Steve Bruce’s hope to keep him beyond this season. The 31-year-old’s current deal runs out this summer but he’s been injured for much of the past two seasons.
Gayle has started just 11 games during Bruce’s tenure. He made his first start of this campaign in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Monday. Though he has made over 30 appearances the past two years, he’s been mainly an impact sub who hasn’t had much of an impact lately.
Gayle has scored just 11 Premier League goals for Newcastle since the promotion season in 2017. He was a regular under Rafa Benitez in our first season back but managed just 6 goals. His best run in a Newcastle shirt in the top flight came at the end of last season when he scored 4 goals in 8 starts down the stretch.
He was all set to become the focal point this season before suffering a serious knee injury in the first preseason game. Newcastle upgraded to Callum Wilson, which meant opportunities were always going to be sparse for Gayle when he returned.
That had been the case with Gayle making only cameos since coming back from his knee injury. It was a promising start with a goal against West Brom in his season debut. However, he’s yet to hit the target again.
However, Gayle now has a massive opportunity with Callum Wilson to miss at least the next five matches. His first start at Chelsea wasn’t exactly eye-catching, but it was a tough fixture for Dwight to get his first start in.
During his press conference yesterday, Steve Bruce was asked about Dwight Gayle’s performance and whether it warranted another start against Manchester United on Sunday. This is was the head coach’s response:
“It was always going to be difficult for Dwight. We’re aware that it was his first start of the season.
“Dwight, at the start of the season, had a knee operation. That’s been, unfortunately, too many of our players.
“So we knew it was going to be a difficult ask for Dwight. But he stuck at it. He got 65 minutes under his belt and we always know he can score a goal.
“He’s got some minutes under his belt which only can help.”
It appears Bruce has not abandoned the idea of giving Gayle a run during Wilson’s absence. So we’ll see if he gives him another opportunity tomorrow at Old Trafford.
Gayle’s future is even more in doubt with his contract running out this summer. Newcastle have decisions to make on a handful of Magpies with Fede Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Andy Carroll, and Jacob Murphy joining Gayle in the final months of their contracts.
The club may have options to extend Fernandez and Schar, who have played well when fit while getting plenty of match time this season. The same cannot be said for the trio of Gayle, Carroll, and Murphy, who haven’t gotten long runs in the team.
Bruce was asked about Gayle’s contract running out and he responded with the following as published in The Chronicle:
“There are a number of players with contracts up.
“And Dwight is one of them.
“There will be conversations to be had over the next few weeks. I am sure.
“We are in the middle of Covid, and in the middle of trying to secure our Premier League status.
“So discussions will be ongoing I am sure.”
In at least the case of Gayle, he’s going to have to get goals over the next few weeks to justify any talks of an extension. With his injury history, while being over 30 and not putting in consistent performances, the cards are stacked against him being here after this season.