DWIGHT GAYLE will be heading out to China later this month with Newcastle United looking to take advantage of a fresh chance at St James’ Park following Rafa Benitez’s exit.

Stoke City and Fulham are two of the clubs looking to sign the former Crystal Palace striker this summer and if they come up with an offer in the region of £20m then the chances are that he will leave.

However, following the departure of Benitez at the end of his contract to the Far East, Gayle now knows there is a chance he could persuade the Spaniard’s successor to keep him if he turns in the performances.

Clearly the problem at this stage is that Newcastle still don’t know who will be leading the team into the new season, with recently appointed Under-23s coach Neil Redfearn set to fill in for the time being.

But Gayle knows he stands a strong chance of playing in the Asia Trophy, which will see Newcastle face Wolves on Wednesday, July 17, after returning to the training ground for pre-season on Thursday.

He was one of those to return, along with familiar face Jack Colback who was on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, and now stands a chance of playing a significant part in China.

Newcastle have a shortage of forwards following the £30m sale of Ayoze Perez to Leicester City this week and the end of Salomon Rondon’s loan from West Brom. Joselu also looks set to depart to Spain.

There had been a chance of the Baggies and Newcastle striking an agreement over a player swap between Rondon and Gayle, although that seems even less likely now that Benitez has departed.

Stoke and Fulham will still make fresh attempts to land Gayle if there is movement on players they could sell on, with both clubs expected to raise significant funds if the deals are done.

By that time it will be hoped on Tyneside that there is further movement, and a degree of clarification, on the takeover front. While Ashley considers managerial options, the Bin Zayed Group are insisting in the Middle East that they do have a bid on the table to buy Newcastle.

Things do not appear to have developed since Sheikh Khaled’s group claimed they had “agreed terms” on a £350m deal to buy Ashley out in May. It is understood there has still been no application made to the Premier League to start the process.

Newcastle have still not issued a statement either, despite club employees suggesting at the time that the Bin Zayed Group’s statement was genuine.  Yesterday saw Dubai-based media deliver an update after speaking to the Bin Zayed which claimed the Group have told them there is an offer on the table and that there was a fresh statement from them “incoming.”

Ashley has taken a fresh battering from supporters in recent weeks for failing to give Benitez what he wanted to stay in charge at St James’ Park.  Former Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan has angered fans by defending some of the decisions made by Ashley.

“Listen, I think, with Mike, you can’t fault him,” said Nolan, in an interview with TalkSport.

“I think he’s been like that now for the last ten years, when I was there. I don’t think he’s ever changed, Mike. When he first went he had all these great intentions of putting Newcastle back on the map. Obviously he’s lost that now and he wants to sell it and there’s no two ways about it, he wants to get out.

"But I think what he’s done, he’s still been able to finance the club and make sure everything’s still running smoothly. You go up there, it’s a fantastic club, and what he’s done within the ground is fantastic. I genuinely believe that the fans want a sale, Mike wants a sale, and when that happens everybody will be happy, Mike as well.

“The whole Rafa Benitez thing, I think he knew what he was going into when he walked into that club, because Mike is not one who will move the goalposts. This is what you get, this is what you’re gonna have, and this is what I want you to work with"