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Despite the success of Dwight Gayle in the Championship this season, Newcastle will certainly know they need striking reinforcements for next term.
Whether or not Newcastle bring in a new first choice striker, or simply replace the replacements by letting go of Murphy and Mitrovic remains to be seen. Rafa Benitez is reportedly keen on bringing Joshua King in from Bournemouth and, if Rafa succeeds in doing so, King would be in a battle with Gayle for the no.9 shirt.
The Premier League season is ending at just the wrong time for King, who is really finding his feet in the division now. The Norwegian striker has managed 16 goals from 36 Premier League games, scoring once in every 170 minutes. That’s a very good record for a player in a bottom half side. Naturally, Gayle gets more chances in the Championship but his 23 goals in 32 games at one every 93 minutes is mightily impressive.
When Gayle played at Premier League level last season, he managed just 3 in 16 games with limited game time. In fairness to him, over all competitions for Crystal Palace, he scored a goal every 146 minutes and is undoubtedly a better player now. With that in mind, can we say King is definitely a better player? Given the similarity in their ages, it is not fair to base the comparison on goal output alone.
This has been King’s breakthrough season and even by his own admission, he has said he needs to prove so that he can pass 15 goals again next term. But as crazy as football is, this could be a one-off season from King too; we never know. King played 32 times for Blackburn in the Championship two years ago and managed just 2 goals, managing only 6 in 31 for Bournemouth last time around.
Gayle, on the other hand, has been slightly more consistent on that front. 29 goals at non-league level came for Bishops Stortford when he was a 21-year-old followed by 13 in 29 in the Championship for a struggling Peterborough. His 23 in 32 now for Newcastle shows real improvement and Gayle could manage 15-20 next season as well; something which looks far from guaranteed for Joshua King.
King though would be a better option in this division than both Mitrovic and Murphy, so signing him would still not be a negative thing. King has stated his desire to stay at Bournemouth and Eddie Howe has told how he would like him to stay, though Newcastle may test the resolve of both parties just as they did a year ago when signing Matt Ritchie from the same club.