West Brom have announced their latest squad numbers ahead of the new season but many fans have noticed that Rekeem Harper has moved from the number 34 shirt to number 16 – which was previously held by loan star Dwight Gayle.
The 28-year-old impressed at the Hawthorns last season, scoring 24 goals in 41 appearances as well as laying on eight assists. The saga on whether he will return has been brewing gradually all summer.
The Daily Mail claimed that the club would re-sign the goal-laden striker should Salomon Rondon join Newcastle permanently following his loan spell at the Magpies last term.
The Venezuelan international did indeed depart the club this summer, but it wasn’t to St James’ Park, as he signed for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.
Then the Baggies technical director Luke Dowling confirmed to the Express & Star that Gayle would not be returning to the club after they failed to gain promotion back to the Premier League.
The story has rumbled on for most of the summer but it appears, in the minds of some supporters, that this latest squad number update has put an end to any lingering rumours.
One member of the Baggies’ faithful said that it basically confirms that Gayle wouldn’t be coming back whilst another added that the only thing they were getting from the news was the fact that 28-year-old must out of question.
Others tweeted Gayle directly asking what other number he would like with one fan saying it means he has to have another former loan ace’s number in Harvey Barnes who wore 15.
Here’s the best of the reaction:
Basically confirms gayle isn’t coming back now
— They-Slammed-It (@TheySlammedIt) August 1, 2019
That means no Dwight
— Albion Home and Away ???? (@HarveyRoom04) August 1, 2019
— sam (@sammycinnamon_) August 1, 2019
But isn’t that @dwightgayle’s number ????????????????
— Chris Parkes (@parkes_10) August 1, 2019
???? the only thing we all getting from this is Gayle is out the question. Damn????
— Richie ward (@wardy1821) August 1, 2019
@dwightgayle which number do you want??
— jack (@jackggriffiths) August 1, 2019
— luke whitehouse (@lwhitehouse09) August 1, 2019
Can the begging for Gayle stop now? Was getting embarrassing
— Callum (@CallumWBA_) August 1, 2019
A number doesn’t mean Dwight Gayle won’t sign there are other numbers
— ethan (@ethanhodgey) August 1, 2019