Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of striker Dwight Gayle on a five-year deal from Crystal Palace, who have purchased winger Andros Townsend in return. The 26-year-old Gayle becomes the second addition made by manager Rafael Benitez during the summer transfer window, after the acquisition of goalkeeper Matz Sels from Gent.
The club have refrained from confirming the fee for Gayle, but The Evening Standard understands the Championship club have shelled out £10m for the ex-Dagenham and Redbridge and Peterborough United forward. Gayle has failed to establish himself in the Palace first team since joining the club in July 2013, with injury and loss of form seeing him restricted to just eight Premier League starts.
Gayle was also left on the bench from the start of the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, but replaced Connor Wickham for the final 34 minutes of the game which included the extra time period. The former non-league starlet is thrilled to have been given his big break at Newcastle and is fully focused on taking the club back to the top flight.
"It's a dream come true to be at a big club like this," Gayle told the club's official website. "Newcastle has a massive fan base and a great history so it is amazing to be here. I can't wait to get started, prove myself and score the goals that take us back up to the Premier League. It's where this Club belongs."
Benitez, who agreed to make his interim spell in charge permanent at the end of the campaign despite Newcastle suffering relegation to the second tier, is thrilled to bring in Gayle who he believes will bring "energy and pace" to the team.
"Dwight is a great player, a proven goalscorer, and it is fantastic news that he has joined us," he added. "He has a big personality, a lot of energy and pace. He is a good finisher also, so he will add goals to our squad, for sure. He knows English football well, too, and that is important in the Championship. I am sure Dwight will want to prove he can make a big difference to our team and I am looking forward to working with him."
Townsend meanwhile moved to Palace just six months on from moving to Newcastle during the January transfer window. The England winger was recruited in an effort to keep the club afloat in the Premier League but after those efforts proved fruitless – despite a run of four goals in 13 appearances – he has jumped at the chance of moving to Selhurst Park for £13m, according to The Daily Mail.
"Naturally we are very disappointed to lose Andros but we are bound by the terms of his contract," Toon managing director Lee Charnley said of Townsend, who joins Steven Taylor in leaving the club this summer. "Given our situation in January it was a condition of him joining that we included a buy-out clause. However, I am sure now with Rafa as our manager we will not be in a position whereby we will need to agree to clauses of this nature in the future.
"Despite Andros' departure today, we believe with the signings we have made this week we have strengthened the squad. Rafa and I are working very well together and we are confident we are building a squad that will meet our objectives for the season ahead of us."