Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Bromwich Albion attempted to re-sign Dwight Gayle from Newcastle United in the summer.
The 29-year-old spent the 2018/19 season on loan at the Hawthorns, scoring 24 goals in all competitions as the Baggies reached the play-off semi-finals under Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan.
At the time, Albion’s technical director, Luke Dowling, said that Albion would be unable to land him permanently due to his high wage demands, though Bilic has now revealed that the club did try to sign him.
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Via the Express and Star, Bilic said: “When I arrived here he (Gayle) had just left. More or less, every other word was ‘Dwight Gayle, Dwight Gayle’. He had a great season and scored many goals.
“But it wasn’t just goals, he gave energy. He gave energy on the pitch but also at the training ground.
“In the summer we tried. We lost 12 players and it’s not good to have such a huge turnaround in a squad. Because he was so good and so instrumental last season, we wanted to get him back.
“We did everything to get him but it wasn’t to be. It was impossible. In January there were some rumours and some speculation in the papers but no, no, no, we didn’t try then.”
West Brom could potentially reunite with Gayle tonight, as Newcastle prepare to travel to the Hawthorns to face Albion in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The striker has made only three starts in the Premier League for the Magpies this season, but he could be set for a run-out in the cup after finding game time hard to come by under Steve Bruce.
It would have been a massive coup for Albion to sign Gayle on a permanent deal in the summer.
The 29-year-old is a proven goalscorer at Championship level, helping Newcastle win the league title in 2017 and nearly helping Albion to play-off success last season.
Gayle’s wages, though, are far too expensive for Championship sides to afford and if the club can’t simply cannot afford them, then you can’t really fault them at all.