DWIGHT GAYLE could hold the key to Newcastle United breaking the club’s transfer record for the second time inside nine months – regardless of whether Sheikh Khaled’s takeover is completed this summer.

The Magpies are ready to spend up to £40m on landing Brazilian striker Joelinton before the start of the new campaign, and that would smash the £21m fee paid to Atlanta United for Miguel Almiron in January.

Newcastle are in a state of flux at the moment because it is not even clear who will be in control come August, with Sheikh Khaled still insisting that terms have been agreed and that he has shown proof of funds to buy the club from Mike Ashley.

Ashley is believed to have signed a non-disclosure agreement with Dubai-based Sheikh, which is being used to explain why there has been a lack of clarification about the talks from the Tyneside club.

While that is not helping Rafa Benitez in deciding whether to commit to a fresh contract, the Spaniard and his staff are carrying on like it is business as usual in terms of preparations for pre-season and possible transfer business.

Joelinton’s valuation at Hoffenheim would ordinarily mean he is out of Newcastle’s reach under Ashley’s transfer policy, but successful back-to-back Premier League relegation battles have left them with more money to spend after a few frugal years of spending.

That said, though, Newcastle are still looking at ways to raise further capital.

And if they can offload Gayle for the asking price this summer then there will be even more cash to put towards attracting top striker target Joelinton.

Fulham are keen on £20m-rated Gayle, while Norwich and Aston Villa are also interested in a player who has struck 24 times in the Championship over the last nine months at West Brom on loan.

Such a financial figure would be perfect for Newcastle to use to help in the battle for Joelinton, with Ashley aware of the potential resale value of the South American who is only a 22-year-old making waves in the Bundesliga.   He hit 11 goals and had nine assists in his 35 games last season for Hoffenheim.

Hoffenheim are under the impression Newcastle will pay at least £30m, so selling Gayle would certainly help their cause. Benitez has been told he will be given money to spend regardless of who owns the club, it is just the amount which is likely to determine whether he extends his stay.

There is no disputing that Newcastle will be short of strikers as things stand. Joselu also looks set to depart, and with Salomon Rondon and Gayle expected not to be around it means Newcastle will have no out-and-out No 9 centre-forward.

Benitez has been enjoying some time off and has been helping different media outlets in the build up to Saturday’s Champions League final when his former club Liverpool face Tottenham in Madrid.

But he is being kept informed about the takeover situation and the behind the scenes work his backroom team at Newcastle are progressing on, even though it is still not clear whether he will still be in the North-East come July.

Marseille had shown an interest in him but turned their attentions elsewhere after he indicated to them he is only focused on agreeing new terms at Newcastle. Marseille have since appointed Andre Villas-Boas.

Roma have been keeping tabs on developments after Claudio Ranieri's departure.  The Serie A club have a six-man short-list and Benitez figures prominently on it, particularly if he ends up becoming a free agent. Shakhtar’s Paulo Fonseca, Sassuolo’s Robert de Zerbi, Sampdoria’s Marco Giampaolo and former AC Milan man Rino Gattuso are all being considered.