NEWCASTLE UNITED will listen to offers for Dwight Gayle next month, with Steve Bruce admitting players will almost certainly have to leave if the Magpies are to make additions during the January transfer window.

Bruce has consistently sought to play down expectations ahead of the reopening of the window, but while he continues to insist he will not be spending money for the sake of it next month, his private conversations with the rest of Newcastle’s recruitment team are understood to have been much more forthright when it comes to the need for a degree of strengthening.

However, while funds are available if the right player becomes an option, Newcastle’s first-team squad list is currently full. That is why Jack Colback was not given a squad number at the start of the season, and means someone would have to drop out of the first-team group to accommodate a new arrival.

“That’s one of the difficulties we’ve got,” admitted Bruce, in the wake of the 2-1 home defeat to Everton on Saturday that means Newcastle will finish 2019 in the bottom half of the Premier League table. “We’d obviously have to make way for somebody if we were bringing somebody in. I might have to let two or three go if we’re going to make changes, otherwise I can’t fit anybody into the squad.”

Gayle is one of the likelier players to depart, despite having started the Boxing Day defeat at Manchester United. The striker has struggled for game time this season, and Newcastle have indicated a willingness to discuss his position with potential suitors.

The 29-year-old has been linked with a number of Championship clubs in the last 12 months, most notably Leeds United, West Brom and Fulham, but it is hard to see anyone meeting Newcastle’s £15m valuation of the forward.

A loan deal is a possibility given it would free up a squad space, but Bruce would only consider such an arrangement if it enabled him to bring in a striker of his own.

Newcastle have been monitoring a number of players since Bruce’s appointment, but regard a January deal for the majority of their leading targets as extremely difficult to pull off. Hull City have slapped a huge price tag on their prize asset, Jarrod Bowen, while Rangers are extremely reluctant to sell Alfredo Morelos while they are challenging for the SLP title.

“There’s a few plates spinning,” said Bruce. “That’s about it at the minute, but we’ll see if we can do anything. I keep saying it, if there’s someone out there who can make us better, we’ll look to do something. But I’m sure that’s the same for most clubs. That’s why January is difficult. I won’t act unless it is going to improve the team.”