Middlesbrough are interested in signing Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle in January, according to recent reports.
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is looking to the transfer window for attacking reinforcements and is eyeing a deal to sign Gayle from local rivals Newcastle.
They do face competition from several other Championship clubs though, with Nottingham Forest, West Brom, and Stoke all keen.
Why sign Gayle?
For one very simple reason, goals.
During his three seasons in the second tier, he has been very prolific, scoring 13 goals in 29 games for Peterborough United during the 2012-13 season, then 23 goals in 32 games for Newcastle in their title-winning campaign of 2016-17, and then 23 in 39 during his loan spell at West Brom in 2018-19.
Middlesbrough’s current top goalscorer is attacking midfielder Matt Crooks with four goals in 21 games. However, the goals have been shared with Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Andraz Sporar and Josh Coburn all close behind with three.
But it is highly unlikely they will be replicating the numbers shown in Gayle’s previous Championship campaigns.
He is also seen as surplus to requirements at Newcastle. He finds himself down the pecking order behind the likes of Callum Wilson, Joelinton, and Allan Saint-Maximin, and so looks to be available in January.
How much game time would he get?
Sporar and Watmore are the go-to duo up front for Wilder’s side at the moment, but despite the pair working well together, they are not scoring a lot of goals.
Therefore, either one of them could drop out in favour of Gayle, with the current Newcastle man likely be the first choice to spearhead Boro’s attack for the remainder of the season.
What could Middlesbrough’s starting XI look like if they secure the signing of Gayle?
GK – Luke Daniels
RWB – Isaiah Jones
CB – Anfernee Dijksteel
CB – Dael Fry
CB – Paddy McNair
LWB – Marc Bola
CM – Jonny Howson
CM – Marcus Tavernier
CM – Matt Crooks
ST – Dwight Gayle
ST – Andraz Sporar
We expect that Watmore would be the one to miss out, with Gayle partnering Sporar up front.
However, Watmore could drop into a number 10 role, where he has operated before instead so he keeps his place in the starting eleven, with either Crooks or Tavernier dropping to the bench.