Has Dwight Gayle's return to form saved Newcastle millions in January?

Newcastle United's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle...

Newcastle may no longer need a new centre forward as their star man from last season has suddenly rediscovered his golden touch.

Dwight Gayle of Newcastle scores the third Newcastle goal  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St James' Park on December 30, 2016 in...

Dwight Gayle and Newcastle United hobbled through the closing months of their promotion campaign last term after the star forward's season-altering injury.

The former Crystal Palace man picked up a knock in January from which he never really seemed to recover.

Gayle scored key goals against Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Barnsley in the run-in, but the turn of pace, off-the-ball running and devastating finishing of the first half of the season was gone.

Dwight Gayle of Newcastle United celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old...

And it remained that way at the start of this campaign, with Gayle finding himself behind both Joselu and Aleksandar Mitrovic at one stage.

But the forward's best form has gradually returned, following up a decent display against Bournemouth - with a goal wrongly chalked off - with a belated first Premier League goal for Newcastle at Manchester United.

Gayle has now added strikes in back-to-back games against Chelsea and Leicester City - turning in an outstanding performance against the latter.

Newcastle United's English forward Dwight Gayle jumps to header the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London...

And all of a sudden - for all of Newcastle's problems - Rafa Benitez can call on a seemingly prolific front man.

It had been assumed the Magpies would have to spend big money on a striker in January, with £20million the figure usually referred to when discussing proven goalscorers.

But Newcastle might now be wiser forming a supply line for Gayle, who looks cut out for this level. Benitez will be relieved.

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