Newcastle United supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats at the hands of Burnley and Bournemouth prior to the international break.
Rafa Benitez’s men made a solid start to the new season upon return to the top-flight, but their momentum has been stemmed in recent weeks following frustrating league losses. The Magpies went down 1-0 at Burnley back on October 30 for what was their fourth Premier League defeat of the campaign, and that tally became five just a few days later as a late Steve Cook header sealed all three points for Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at St James’ Park, thus instigating Newcastle’s fall to 11th in the Premier League table.
Thus, there have been many despondent Magpies supporters in the Tavern this week wondering exactly what has gone wrong for their team, although many are turning their attentions to the return of league action this weekend, which sees Benitez’s men travel to second place Manchester United.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Newcastle fans to discuss, not least a recent report from Marca which suggests that the North East giants are in the race for Villarreal hotshot Cedric Bakambu.
The 26-year-old moved to the La Liga outfit back in 2015 and has proven his worth since then with 42 goals in just 98 games for the club, including eight in ten league matches already this season.
And the DR Congo international is reportedly attracting the interest of Newcastle, as well as West Brom and West Ham, ahead of the January transfer window, in a move which, if it were to go ahead, would all but signal the end of Dwight Gayle’s career in the North East.
The Englishman moved to St James’ Park back in 2016 in a bid to help the Magpies get out of the Championship, and his 23 goals in 32 games did just that in inspiring them to the title.
Yet things haven’t quite happened for the 27-year-old so far this term, with his start against Bournemouth last time out his first since their defeat to Huddersfield Town back in August.
Since then, Gayle has to sit and watch summer signing Joselu bag three Premier League goals for Newcastle, but it’s the fact that things haven’t been plain sailing for him either that suggests that the writing would be on the wall for the former should Bakambu move in January.
Ultimately, Joselu has done reasonably well since moving from Stoke City during the close season, with his all round qualities as a forward appealing to Benitez, yet he has been guilty of missing one too many chances, some of which have cost Newcastle dearly so far this term.
Gayle is without doubt a better finisher and a better 18-yard box player that the 27-year-old, but Benitez clearly doesn’t trust him to be able to do the other things required of a Premier League striker – he can’t regularly get into this team, so what chance he has got should Bakambu arrive?
With the likes of Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey just behind, one would think that chances were regular for the Newcastle frontline, and thus Gayle would be in his element in a bid to build upon last season’s fine Championship campaign.
But Benitez simply doesn’t think he’s got the all round capabilities as well as the fitness to lead the line for the club, otherwise he’d surely be in ahead of Joselu given his greater ability to finish chances off.
And with Bakambu potentially on his way in January, the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) would fall even further down the pecking order and possibly out of the matchday squad altogether, thus suggesting that his time at St James’ Park would be at an end.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!