Rafa Benitez’s willingness to offload Dwight Gayle in a summer where he was so desperate for a striker was slightly odd.

The common perception is that Gayle is a striker who slips through the gap between England’s top two divisions; potent in the Championship but unable to make his mark in the Premier League.

While it’s true he has never been prolific in the top flight, 21 goals in 99 Premier League appearances is not an awful record.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

Further, Newcastle didn’t have many better options. Getting Salomon Rondon in offers Benitez a more physical but not necessarily prolific option.

Gayle’s performances at West Brom only add credence to the idea that Rafa should have kept him around; he looks sharp and confident, scoring an outstanding goal against Stoke on September 1, to boot.

Now, reports have claimed Gayle is being lined up as a £200,000 target in the Chinese Super League.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

All of that adds up to compound the idea that Rafa should have kept Gayle around. He is a useful, pacy option and at 27, should be approaching his best years.

His detractors will argue that his Baggies form is further proof that he is a Championship striker. But he was the best option available at Newcastle, and it hasn’t taken long for him to prove his worth elsewhere.

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