Can Miguel Almiron bring the best out of Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United?
Everyone is talking about Salomon Rondon and why Newcastle United should sign him permanently, but it seems as though people have forgotten about Dwight Gayle. The 28-year-old striker spent last season on loan at West Brom, a season in which he dominated the stat sheet with 24 goals, but Gayle is now back on Tyneside after the Baggies were eliminated from the Championship Play-offs.
Rondon’s situation is up in the air, especially seeing that multiple clubs are interested in his services, but regardless of what happens with Rondon, this article is focused on Gayle and whether or not he can excel with the Magpies’ new playmaker, Miguel Almiron, alongside him.
Gayle Can Succeed
I may be in the minority with this opinion, but I am optimistic that Almiron can transform Gayle in to a quality Premier League striker who can score in double figures. Last season, Gayle only managed to score a mere six goals in 35 games. However, it is worth mentioning that Newcastle did not have a playmaker last season and Rafa Benitez refused to break from his 4-2-3-1 formation all season – a formation which emphasizes defending and counter-attacking.
Ever since the arrival of Almiron, Benitez has shaken things up and Newcastle have been playing attacking football in a 3-4-3 formation. As a result, for the first time since the Cisse-Ba duo, Newcastle had Perez and Rondon score a combined total of 23 goals.
Gayle would absolutely benefit from this attacking style of play. Unlike Rondon, Gayle boasts plenty of pace and having a speedy duo in Almiron and Gayle up top could cause problems for opposing back-lines. Moreover, Rondon is known as a target man, which means he is largely dependent on others setting up his goals in the penalty area. In fairness, every striker needs help from out wide, but Gayle can also create chances for himself because of his quick feet.
Now, I must make it clear that I do not think that Gayle is a better striker than Rondon. The Venezuelan international is slower than Gayle, but he plays more aggressive football, knows how to hold the ball up, has better vision and, overall, is more clinical in front of goal. However, as I mentioned earlier, Rondon might not be back next season. In fact, Gayle could be sold, too, but we at least know Gayle is back with the team and the thought of Gayle and Almiron playing together next season is intriguing.