Newcastle close to signing Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace for initial £8.5m

• Striker set for medical and talks over personal terms after fee is agreed
• Deal for Gayle is not connected to Palace’s pursuit of Andros Townsend

Newcastle are close to completing the signing of Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace, with Rafael Benítez’s side set to pay an initial £8.5m in a deal that could be worth more than £10m.

Gayle, who joined Palace from Peterborough in July 2013 for a then-club record fee of around £4.5m, is expected to travel to the north east on Wednesday for a medical and to discuss personal terms after the clubs made a breakthrough in negotiations.

Despite only signing a new contract which runs until 2019 in April, the 25-year-old has been handed limited opportunities at Selhurst Park despite finishing as the club’s top scorer in each of the past three seasons. Palace had accepted a bid of £9m for his services from Bristol City last summer and, once he had rejected that move, knocked back interest from Norwich because there was no time in which to secure a replacement.

Newcastle have agreed to pay £8.5m up front with another £1m due if Gayle scores 20 goals and another £1m should they achieve promotion. A portion of that fee will be payable to Peterborough due to the existence of a sell-on clause.

Despite offering £10.5m to trigger Andros Townsend’s release clause, however, it is understood that the move for Gayle is not connected to that deal. At present, the England winger is mulling over the chance to return to London, with several other clubs believed to also be interested. Palace are also reported to have submitted a bid of €3m for 18-year-old Sochaux defender Jérôme Onguéné, who is also wanted by Turkish club Trabzonspor.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have signed goalkeeper Matz Sels from Belgian side Gent for an undisclosed fee. Sels, 24, has signed a five-year contract after the two clubs agreed a reported fee of around £4.5m.

Middlesbrough had been reported to have held talks with Sels, while Benítez had made bringing in a goalkeeper his first priority after agreeing to remain at St James’ Park following relegation.

“I am really pleased to welcome Matz to the club,” Benítez said. “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.”

Sels, voted goalkeeper of the year in Belgium last season, joined Gent from Lierse in January 2014 and went on to make 106 appearances in all competitions for the club, helping them win the Jupiler Pro League title in 2014-15.

He was included in the senior Belgium squad ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifiers with Andorra and Israel last October but missed out on selection for the finals in France. He has represented his country at every age group from Under-17 to Under-21 level.

Sels added: “I’m very pleased - I’m very happy to be here. In Belgium, Newcastle is a really big club, and that’s why I chose Newcastle.

“As soon as Newcastle showed their interest in me and I spoke to the coach Rafa Benitez, it was an easy decision to make.”


Ed Aarons and Dominic Fifield

The GuardianTramp

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