Newcastle ready to complete Â£25m triple swoop with Gayle and Ritchie
Newcastle United will complete the signing of striker Dwight Gayle today '“ with Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie set to follow him to St James's Park.
Gayle flew into Newcastle yesterday to finalise his £10million move.
The 25-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at Crystal Palace, but will supply United’s forward line with the pace that Rafa Benitez wants.
Benitez had promised last week that he was on the verge of “three or four” signings, and he has been true to his word, with Matz Sels yesterday being unveiled as his first piece of transfer business.
The Gent goalkeeper joined on a five-year deal for a fee estimated to be around £4.5million.
And after Gayle has put pen to paper, Ritchie looks like being the next new face through the door at St James’s Park after the Magpies stepped up their interest in the Scotland international.
It will take their spending to around £25m in a couple of days as Benitez moulds a squad capable of getting the club back into the top flight at the first time of asking.
Both Gayle and Ritchie have experience of playing in the Championship. Gayle scored 13 goals in 29 appearances for Peterborough United before joining Palace, while Ritchie helped Bournemouth to the 2014-15 title.
Gayle will sign a five-year deal after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical, with former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew deciding that the striker was not part of his plans at Palace.
One player Pardew does want in his squad, though, is Newcastle winger Andros Townsend, with Palace understood to be set to activate the England international’s release clause.
Benitez wants to get a replacement in before Townsend departs, and has turned to Ritchie, who has played a key role in Bournemouth’s meteoric rise since joining them from Swindon for a bargain £500,000 three years ago.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe is believed to be reluctant to sell a player who featured in all but one of their Premier League games last season, but Ritchie is understood to be keen on the move.
Bournemouth will demand around £12m for the winger, who scored four goals last season.
Sels, meanwhile, has returned to Belgium but will report back to Tyneside for the start of pre-season training tomorrow.
Benitez said: “I am really pleased to welcome Matz to the club. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper and many top clubs have been interested in signing him.
“Obviously we have injuries to Tim Krul and Rob Elliot which could be difficult for us in the first part of the season, so it was important to strengthen in this area to be sure we can make a strong start in the Championship.”
Benitez is also close to bringing a defender into the Newcastle squad in the next few days.