One-time Bristol City targets training with Newcastle U23’s in chance to reignite interest

Newcastle United have made three players available for transfer and two were previously on Bristol City’s radar

One-time Bristol City targets Ciaran Clark and Dwight Gaye have become available for transfer by Newcastle United after being sent to train with their Under-23’s squad.

Clark was a reported target for the Robins back in 2019 under former boss Lee Johnson, but a move failed to maerialise.

City had looked for an Adam Webster replacement after selling him to Brighton & Hove Albion for more than £20m, but ended up signing former Wales captain Ashley Williams instead.

And whilst two managers have come in since, Clark’s availability to the Championship market may mean an opportunity for the club to consider signing him if it is financially viable.

Craig Hope, the North-East football correspondent for the Daily Mail says that Clark, along with Gayle and midfielder Jeff Hendrick are no longer part of the first-team plans.

Talks are ongoing about all three departing St James Park with City’s rivals hoping to conclude a deal.

Gayle has strong interest from recently relegated Watford and Birmingham City, meanwhile Clark is also a target for Birmingham but also Sheffield United.

Jeff Hendrick has just one club interested in him at the moment and that is Reading, who struggled in the Championship last year.

Out of the three players available, Gale was the closest to making the move to Ashton Gate having been close to a move a few years back.

A target for Steve Cotterill at the time, City had a £6m offer accepted for the then Crystal Palace striker as he sought a move.

There was a desire for someone to partner Jonathan Kodija up front but it wouldn’t be Gayle.

Despite having a bid accepted and Cotterill admitting publicly ‘he was someone he’d like at the football club’ Gayle opted against the move.

He stayed at Selhurst Park and became more of a first-team figure in their squad but later moved on to Newcastle.

Gayle believed that rejecting the chance to move to the West Country was the right decision as he hoped to hold on to his Premier League chance.

A new striker isn’t necessarily a priority right now given how prolific the attack trio of Andreas Weimann, Antoine Semenyo and Chris Martin was last season.

Nahki Wells has been linked with a move away with Preston, QPR and Swansea City only wanting to sign him on a free transfer. Should any bids come in for their attacking forwards however that could change things but their priorities are in other areas.

One position that still needs to be strengthened is at centre-back where Clark could be a good option.

Despite a number of options there, City still have a desire to add one more player there with potential loan moves for the younger players.

Clark has played in the Premier League for the 13 out of the 14 seasons he has been involved with in professional football and has more than 200 appearances in the top flight.

He did play a big part in Newcastle’s Championship winning campaign in 2016/17 and that would be a big plus if he were to be considered a target.

Realistically though he will have Premier League wages and with the business done so far, it seems there is a desire to reduce the wage bill and also the age of the squad.

Hendrick is the other player available but City need a defensive midfielder rather than just a central player.