It seems to me that Alan Pardew doesn`t think that Dwight Gayle is much use as a lone striker, otherwise he`d be keeping the lad, wouldn`t he?
Gayle is clearly surplus to requirements at Selhurst Park after news leaked that Bristol City had made a very ambitious bid for the player. The fact that Gayle didn`t fancy dropping down a division to join a newly promoted side is no surprise. He`s at a Premier League club and wants to stay there, who wouldn`t in his position?
It seems as well though, that the lad may be frozen out if he doesn`t make a move with Palace looking a little reluctant to sell to Premier league “rivals” like Norwich and Bournemouth. I don`t exactly see us as rivals with Palace though, due to the recruitment and advancement they have made – Alan Pardew is likely to be looking up rather than down, I suspect.
It`s a position that Norwich could be in by now, had the “next step” recruitment drive of summer 2013 worked out. It didn`t and that`s all water under the bridge now though and although we have got back to the top table, we are not vying with Palace for a top ten finish. Yes, our squad is strong on numbers and effort too but it`s the quality that`s lacking – a fact that was underlined by Lewis Grabban`s woeful miss as he hit the post in the first half, last Saturday.
The recruitment this summer has been solid but hardly spectacular, Mulumbu and Brady in particular will be assets I`m sure but they`re not going to set the world on fire, I suspect.
That “set the world on fire” type is what we need but they are very expensive. It`s why Dwight Gayle is “worth” £8m+.
Is he what Norwich need though?
Norwich will play with a lone striker most of the time this season. You only have to look at what happened to West Brom on Monday night, when Tony Pulis made the catastrophic error of playing two strikers against Manchester City, to see why. Against the City midfield, the Baggies were just chasing shadows due to lack of numbers and got battered, doing well to keep it to just three.
That being the case, you ideally want a lone striker who is strong, athletic and has some pace about him. A Cameron Jerome or a Lewis Grabban, if you look at players in Norwich`s squad, would appear the two best placed to do the job. Other than that, we have RvW (not strong enough), Kyle Lafferty (not quick enough but quick to get yellow carded) and Gary Hooper who is number three at the moment.
Alex Neil has set his sights on a new forward and as I wrote a couple of days ago, I`m all for that but he has to be better than what we already have. Is Dwight Gayle better than Jerome, Grabban and Hooper? I don`t think he is.
Gayle is 5`9″ so not exactly tall but he is quick and he can finish. Most of the best teams in Europe play with only one striker so I don`t disagree with Alex Neil`s tactics at all, they are right for the level we are competing at and although also used by Chris Hughton, as Neil has shown it`s all about the way the players are instructed as to how it works for you.
Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney both play as lone strikers for their respective clubs and both are 5`9″ tall, the same as Gayle and Gary Hooper but no-one rubbishes the first two, do they? Both play the role with aplomb and are well supported by their midfield. Some players can play the lone role and some can`t and being honest, I haven`t seen enough of Gayle to tell you definitively that he can or cannot play up top on his Jack Jones. Likewise, I can tell you that I don`t think Hooper is as effective as Jerome or Grabban at it because I`ve seen him enough to form that opinion.
Reading between the lines, from what Palace fans seem to say and the fact that Alan Pardew has recruited two new strikers, Gayle probably isn`t what we or Alex Neil are looking for. He`ll no doubt make me look a chump and bid for him now but I don`t think he`s the right man for the job. If he comes and scores 10+ goals then I`m happy to be proven wrong, I just don`t think he`s the man for us.
Mattia Destro on the other hand?