Bruce spent just under two years with Villa, before getting sacked.
And during that time at Villa Park the experienced boss has suggested that Newcastle forward Gayle came on to his radar.
Villa couldn’t afford to buy Gayle off Newcastle at the time, so the transfer never went ahead.
But Bruce is a big fan of Gayle, and wanted to keep him at St. James’ Park as he still feels the striker can have a part to play.
“I said to the lad, when all the talk of him moving was whirring away, that I'd tried to buy him," Bruce said, after rumours that Gayle could leave Newcastle for £20 million emerged in the Northern Echo earlier this summer.
"I'd never been able to afford him.
"But I tried to take him wherever I have gone in the Championship.”
Gayle was loaned out by Newcastle last season, and he went on to really impress at West Bromwich Albion.
With Newcastle looking for a goalscorer, Gayle could have an important role to play on Tyneside, if he can get himself fit.
New Newcastle signing Joelinton has not yet hit the back of the net, and Gayle may well have a chance of starting when he makes it off the treatment table.
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