Newcastle United have some important decisions to make in January regarding who they plan to keep in the squad and who they are willing to sell.
Earlier this week I explained why Newcastle United should sell Yoshinori Muto and Ki Sung-Yueng in January, but a new report from the Shields Gazette indicates that the front office is ready to entertain offers for Dwight Gayle and Javier Manquillo. Gayle and Manquillo are quality players who have been with the Magpies for multiple seasons, and a few teams will surely be knocking on the door for their services, but should they be sold in January?
Dwight Gayle: Sell
Personally, I like Dwight Gayle and I want to see him stay on Tyneside, but I just don’t see it happening. For some reason, Steve Bruce prefers Andy Carroll’s tall frame over Dwight Gayle’s quick pace. Gayle has only made two appearances this season, both as a late substitute, and has only touched the ball once. Yes, one touch.
Going back two seasons ago, Gayle scored six goals and completed three assists in 35 appearances, so we know he can have an impact offensively. However, he is recognized as an elite striker in the Championship as a result of scoring over 20 goals for Newcastle United (2016) and West Brom (2018) in the second division.
West Brom are interested in securing his services on a permanent basis in January, and if the Baggies offer comes close to Newcastle United’s asking price I think Gayle will be on his way to the West Midlands. As I mentioned earlier, Gayle would be the second striker in my pecking order if I was the manager, but it doesn’t look like he is in Bruce’s future plans.
Javier Manquillo: Keep
Javier Manquillo’s situation is difficult to predict. Under Rafa Benitez, Manquillo was behind DeAndre Yedlin, but he got more playing time in the second half of last season and looked solid as a starter. Manquillo was in top form this summer as well, but to our surprise he has only played in four matches this season.
The arrival of Emil Krafth this summer made things worse for Manquillo. The team desperately needed another wing-back to spark more internal competition, but now Bruce has a big dilemma. Does he think Krafth has what it takes to step up and serve as a regular starter if Yedlin goes down with an injury?
My answer to that question would be no. Krafth still needs time to adapt to English football and this is reflected in his inconsistency. For example, the Swedish international got lit up by Teemu Pukki in matchweek two, but he looked great against Harry Kane and company the following weekend. Manquillo has 73 Premier League matches under his belt and his form has improved since the second half of last season. As a result, I think Bruce should and will keep the Spaniard around until the end of the 2019-20 campaign.