Former England international Paul Robinson has been gushing over Dwight Gayle after the striker started Newcastle United’s goalless draw with Burnley, and feels Leeds United ought to have signed him in January.
Boss Marcelo Bielsa needed Director of Football Victor Orta to bring another centre-forward to Elland Road during the mid-season market as a result of Arsenal recalling Eddie Nketiah, and ultimately saw RB Leipzig’s Jean-Kevin Augustin brought in on a loan-to-buy deal.
There had been talk back in January of a potential move for Gayle before attentions turned to Augustin, but the forward sustaining a calf issue midway through the month marked the end of our interest – despite the 29-year-old being made available for the right price.
Gayle has since returned from injury to feature from the bench away to Crystal Palace and started for the Magpies last Saturday as they hosted Burnley at St. James’ Park.
The London-born forward failed to score his first Premier League goal of the season as Newcastle and Burnley drew 0-0, but Gayle’s movement up top left a glowing impression on Robinson.
“I like Dwight Gayle,” Robinson told Football Insider. “I wanted Leeds to sign him if he was not part of Steve Bruce’s plans.
“He is a great striker. His movement, he brings something different to Joelinton. He needs players around him, but Gayle brings other players into it – he brings the team together.”
Should Orta have signed Gayle in January?
Gayle was lively at home to Burnley on Saturday, with the former Arsenal youth player taking 33 touches, four shots and playing one key pass in what was only his third start and 11th appearance of the Premier League season, per Sofa Score.
He also delivered one accurate cross (50%), found a teammate with his only long pass, provided two clearances, won four of seven ground duels and was fouled three times.
Having a role to play across the Toon’s frontline would suggest Gayle could have had something to offer our promotion hopes this season, but Bielsa and Orta saw enough in him to suggest he was not the right player to aid our efforts and only time will tell if they – or Robinson – were correct.