Championship outfit Middlesbrough are still a considerable distance off finalising a deal for Newcastle United forward Dwight Gayle despite the 32-year-old being linked with a move to the Riverside, according to the Northern Echo.
The Teesside outfit are currently in desperate need of addressing their forward area with three former loanees in Aaron Connolly, Folarin Balogun and Andraz Sporar all returning to their parent clubs last month.
This leaves Duncan Watmore, Uche Ikpeazu and Chuba Akpom as Chris Wilder’s only options up top, with real doubts over the futures of the latter two who were both loaned out last term.
Can you remember how much Middlesbrough paid for these 22 summer signings?
This has potentially opened up a vacancy for Gayle to fill, with the 32-year-old potentially unlikely to play a major part in Eddie Howe’s plans as the Magpies’ owners prepare to back the ex-AFC Bournemouth manager heavily again in the coming months.
According to talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook, Boro is one potential destination for the experienced forward who could be set for his first loan spell away from St James’ Park since spending a season at West Bromwich Albion, playing a considerable part in guiding them to a top-six finish.
However, the Northern Echo believes Wilder’s side aren’t closing in on Gayle just yet despite having him on their radar and it remains to be seen whether they can get a deal over the line before pre-season starts later this month. They are also not close to sealing a deal for Southampton’s Adam Armstrong.
After taking gambles with Connolly and Balogun, more experience up top could be a good switch to make because Gayle has proven in the past that he can take on the challenge of being a top scorer in the second tier.
It may take him a while to get back into the groove after only playing a limited amount of football at St James’ Park recently – but he has the goalscoring pedigree to be a real asset at the Riverside and could be particularly crucial for a side looking to get back to the Premier League.
Their goalkeeping department undoubtedly needs strengthening with Joe Lumley and Luke Daniels arguably both needing to be replaced – but more firepower is required in the forward area and this is where the Newcastle striker could be a real asset.
Watmore can also chip in, but at least one more forward along with Gayle will be needed if the Teesside club are to give themselves the best possible chance of being in the promotion mix during the 2022/23 campaign.
Ideally, one forward coming in will be a permanent addition to provide a longer-term option in that area and they may have the funds to make it happen with Djed Spence likely to secure an eight-figure move away from the club this summer.
Armstrong would be a good addition, although a loan deal seems more likely at this stage considering the Saints splashed out a considerable amount for his services just last year.