Middlesbrough fell away from the promotion picture in disappointing fashion in the final few months of the season under Chris Wilder.
The Teesside club had seen an epic turnaround having relieved Neil Warnock of his duties in November, and Boro looked every bit promotion contenders in patches.
FA Cup victories over Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will live long in the memories of supporters, but in the end there is an argument that they were to the detriment of the club’s push for a top six finish.
Folarin Balogun, Andraz Sporar and Aaron Connolly have returned to their parent clubs this summer, leaving spots to be filled at the top of the pitch.
Josh Coburn and Duncan Watmore remain present at The Riverside, and the returning Chuba Akpom and Uche Ikpeazu seem likely to move on.
“At this stage Dwight Gayle from #NUFC more realistic.”
— Alex Crook ⚽️🎙🇺🇦 (@alex_crook) June 9, 2022
In Dwight Gayle’s last two seasons in the Championship, 2016/17 and 2018/19, he scored a combined 46 league goals for Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion.
The most recent campaign was three seasons ago, but at 32, it is likely that the livewire forward still has the nous to be dangerous at the level.
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Chris Wilder has a very good record of getting the best out of experienced players, and that could be the case with Gayle.
The likes of Chris Basham, David McGoldrick, Mark Duffy and Billy Sharp hit new heights in his time at Sheffield United, two of which being strikers, and that could be something he thinks he can emulate with Gayle.
The 32-year-old has two years remaining on his contract at Newcastle United, despite hardly being involved in 2021/22, and the Magpies may not require a significant fee to get him off of the wage bill.
Geographically it would be a major move for Gayle, which may be attractive at this stage of his career, and with pace and physicality around him, it could turn out to be one of the smarter additions in the Championship this summer.