Clinton Morrison believes the addition of Dwight Gayle to Stoke City could be a really shrewd move for Michael O’Neill.
The forward has arrived from Newcastle United on a two-year deal to keep him at the club until 2024.
The 31-year old has not featured for the Premier League side on a consistent basis since returning from loan to West Brom in 2019.
He made 46 league appearances across three seasons, making 14 starts and only scored five goals.
But he has shown a prowess in the Championship for more ruthless finishing, scoring 20+ goals on two different occasions, with the Baggies and in Newcastle’s promotion season of 2016-17.
The former forward-turned-pundit believes that this second division experience will stand to him despite a long three years spent mostly on the bench.
The 43-year old has backed Gayle to rediscover his goal scoring form with the Potters.
“It’s a very good signing because Dwight Gayle scores goals in the Championship, he always scores goals in the Championship without doubt,” said Morrison, via OLBG.
“You’ve seen it many times that he will score goals and I think it’s a good move for Dwight Gayle as well.
“He’s been sitting at Newcastle for years, not playing, not being involved or coming on for five minutes.
“Any striker will tell you it’s not good for them, you need to be playing week in week out and feeling the love from the manager.
“Michael O’Neil and Stoke bringing him in is a good bit of business.
“You just need to get that ball into the box because we all know how good Dwight Gayle’s movement is and he will score goals for Stoke if that happens.”
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Stoke get their latest Championship campaign underway this weekend with the visit of Blackpool to the Bet365 Stadium.
O’Neill will be aiming for an improvement on last season, in which his side finished 14th in the league.
Other additions to the squad this summer include the likes of Aden Flint and Josh Laurent, as well as the loan signings of Will Smallbone, Gavin Kilkenny and Harry Clarke.
Gayle will have a lot to prove in the opening weeks of the season in terms of his physical condition.
At 31, he would now be considered outside of his peak years, but his lack of activity for Newcastle could be a positive or a negative.
In many ways it has kept his legs fresh, meaning he could still have a few good years left in the tank.
But it could also have seen him slow down, this is a difficult balance to judge from the outside so only with competitive minutes under his belt can we truly know his capability still.
However, he can find his form from his previous stints in the Championship then this could prove to be an incredibly exciting signing for Stoke.