The fallout continues after West Bromwich Albion failed in our bid to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking as Technical Director Luke Dowling has delivered the disappointing news that we won’t be looking to secure a deal for Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle.
The 28-year-old arrived at The Hawthorns over the summer on a season long loan deal and had a dramatic impact on our battle for promotion at the first time of asking, scoring 24 goals and setting up two assists in his 34 starting appearances and six substitute showings in the second tier.
With the quasi-nature of the loan deal, albeit not strictly being linked with Salomon Rondon going in the other direction, most fans naturally felt permanent arrangements would be made, but speaking to Sky Sports Dowling flatly ruled that out.
“No-one would like to keep Dwight more than myself. We can all recognise what he gives us on the pitch and the way he conducts himself off the pitch in the local area – he’s brought his family down from Newcastle for the year, he’s bought into everything we want to do. Financially, we were prepared to pay the money for Dwight’s contract for this season. It hasn’t worked out. Dwight’s contract is a Premier League contract and we will pay Premier League contracts, but we’ll only do that once we’re back in the Premier League.”
“I know it won’t be the news Albion fans want to hear, but they need to trust us and know we’re doing everything right for this club. We don’t want to keep players on big contracts and have to lay the general staff off and make people redundant. We want to keep everyone here because we’ve got good people behind the scenes.”
We can still expect Rondon to move on, but plenty of fans won’t be happy with this although some I guess would’ve expected it.
Understandably we have to watch the finances, but if Gayle was willing to drop a division, naturally that has to include a wage reduction and Rondon’s expected sale would presumably breakeven, then the savings come from those high earners we’ve released.
Dowling’s words seem to suggest Gayle wouldn’t compromise, but the question is who do we bring in now that has the same quality? Or are we now taking a long term plan as opposed to promotion or bust?