Dwight Devon Boyd Gayle (born 17 October 1989) is an English professional footballer who plays for Crystal Palace as a striker. Gayle began his career in the Arsenal Academy, after being released by the club as a teenager he dropped down to the 9th tier of English football joining Stansted of the Essex Senior League. Over the following seasons, Gayle worked his way back up the English football pyramid via stints at Bishop's Stortford, Dagenham & Redbridge and Peterborough United before establishing himself in the Premier League with Crystal Palace.
Gayle was born in Walthamstow, London. He started his career in the youth team of Arsenal but was released as a teenager. In 2009 he joined Stansted, where he went on to score 57 goals in the 2010–11 season.
In the summer of 2011 he signed for Football League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge. In August 2011, he was immediately sent out on loan to Conference North side Bishop's Stortford on a season-long loan. He then signed his professional contract in July 2012, on a three-year contract after scoring 29 goals in 42 apparences for Bishop's Stortford. He made his professional debut for the Daggers on 18 August 2012, in a 2–0 defeat to Cheltenham Town.
In November 2012 Gayle joined Peterborough United on loan with Peterborough having the option of making his move permanent in January 2013. His Peterborough debut came on 24 November as a 53rd-minute substitute for Saido Berahino in a 1–1 away draw with Ipswich Town. Gayle's first Peterborough goal was on 1 December 2012. Picking-up a poor backpass by Blackpool's Alex Baptiste he scored what was only a consolation goal in Peterborough's 4–1 home defeat. Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said of Gayle "He listens. He picks up things quickly, which is always a sign of a good player. He's going to be a really good player the boy".
On 24 December 2012, he agreed to sign permanently for Peterborough after a successful loan spell scoring five goals in six games. He joined on 2 January 2013 on a four-and-a-half-year contract for a fee of £500,000 which could rise to £750,000. On 2 March 2013, he scored a hat-trick in a 3–2 win against Blackburn Rovers.
On 3 July 2013, Gayle signed a four-year contract for newly promoted Premier League club Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee, reported as a club record £4.5m, inheriting the number 16 shirt from Wilfried Zaha. His former club Dagenham & Redbridge received £1m of the initial transfer fee plus 20% of any extra payments made due to a sell-on clause added when he signed for Peterborough United. He made his Palace debut playing 90 minutes in a home match against Tottenham Hotspur on 18 August 2013 in a 0–1 loss. On 31 August 2013, Gayle scored his first goal for the club and his first in the Premier League by successfully converting a penalty against Sunderland after he was fouled by John O'Shea. On 5 October, he scored in a 3–1 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield. On boxing day, he scored the only goal in a 1–0 away win against Aston Villa at the end of the game in added time although, in part due to injury, he found first team appearance opportunities limited for the remainder of the season. He returned towards the end of the season scoring two goals in a come back to 3–3 (Palace having been 0–3 down) in a home draw against Liverpool, which effectively ended their chances of the League title. In Palace's final match of the season against Fulham at Craven Cottage he scored another two goals, including a direct free-kick. These goals against Fulham ensured he finished his first season at Crystal Palace as the club's top scorer despite struggling to hold down a consistent place in the starting eleven.
On 26 August 2014, Gayle scored his first hat-trick for Crystal Palace, scoring three times in the first-half to give Palace a comfortable 3–0 win over Walsall in the second round of the Football League Cup. Four days later, he scored his first Premier League goal of the season in the opening minute of a 3–3 draw at Newcastle United. On 23 November, Gayle scored in the home fixture against Liverpool for the second consecutive season as Palace defeated the Merseyside team 3–1.
On 4 January, Gayle scored his first goal of 2015 in a 4–0 win over Dover Athletic in the third round of the FA Cup. He then scored three goals in the team's next two matches; a 2–1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur and a 3–2 defeat of Burnley at Turf Moor.
On 11 August 2015, Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill confirmed that Crystal Palace had accepted an undisclosed bid for Gayle. On 15 August it was confirmed that Bristol City were no longer interested in signing Gayle.
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