Dwight Gayle is a name on every Nottingham Forest fans’ lips, with the January transfer window fast approaching.
The 29-year-old currently finds himself out of favour under Steve Bruce at Newcastle United, and having made just three league appearances for the Magpies so far this season.
A lot of money for a 29-year-old, then, but it’s clear to see why given his record in front of goal in the second tier.
Gayle scored 23 goals as Newcastle won the Championship title in 2016/17, and last season, he netted 24 times in 41 games for West Brom as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the top-flight.
Forest certainly need another striker at the club – Lewis Grabban and Rafa Mir are the club’s only out-and-out striking options at present, with the likes of Hillal Soudani, Daryl Murphy and Jason Cummings all leaving in the summer.
But if reports are to go by, Forest would need to smash their transfer record for the second successive year if they wished to sign Gayle, after signing Joao Carvalho for £13.2m last summer.
Most Forest fans have urged the club to spend the money on the proven forward, but there should be some caution.
Firstly, there is the issue that Gayle has only played three times this season, so it would be tough to get him up to full match fitness straight away.
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Where would this signing leave Lewis Grabban, too? The 31-year-old has been so important for Forest this season, scoring eight goals in the Championship and netting some very important goals at that.
If Gayle comes in, especially for £15m and the wages that Forest would inevitably have to pay for him, he isn’t going to want to sit on the bench every week – he will want to be a regular starter.
It would be a very bold and quite bizarre move to drop Grabban for Gayle, and playing the two of them at the same time would perhaps result in a change in tactics and formation which could be risky at this stage of the season.
A move for another linked player, Lawrence Shankland, would make more sense. Of course, the 24-year-old has never played in English football and is therefore unproven in the Championship, but his goalscoring record should not be frowned upon whatsoever.
The Dundee United forward – who scored 34 goals for Ayr United last term – has scored 20 goals in 20 games for club and country this time around, and will be hungry to prove he can find the net in England.
He would be a cheaper option for the Reds than Gayle would be, but he would be exciting nonetheless. Signing a player who has scored 54 goals in two seasons would be a statement in itself.
He’ll want to be playing games regularly too, of course, but you get the feeling that he’d be more willing to move to a massive club like Forest and want to prove himself in training to impress the manager.
Gayle wouldn’t necessarily feel like that having done it in the Championship before – he will only want to move to Forest if he is guaranteed starts, and it’s hard to see that given Grabban’s form in front of goal.
From a logical point of view, Shankland is the man for Forest.