Newcastle United close in on transfer breakthrough with Steve Bruce hoping for progress in the next '48 hours'

Steve Bruce is hopeful the next 48 hours will bring another breakthrough in the transfer market for Newcastle United.

Steve Bruce's side were beaten 2-1 by Championship outfit Preston North End at Deepdale this afternoon.
Steve Bruce's side were beaten 2-1 by Championship outfit Preston North End at Deepdale this afternoon.

And the Gazette understands a deal for Frenchman Allan Saint-Maximin is in place with Nice, with the two clubs just haggling over the finer details of the arrangement.

The Ligue 1 outfit have been holding out for around £18million for the 22-year-old, but United are thought to be keen to pay closer to £16million. Should a deal be concluded at that price it would make the France youth international the joint third most expensive player in Newcastle’s history behind £35million Joelinton and £21million Miguel Almiron.

Progress on that front is expected to be made over the next few days and an announcement expected at the start of next week.

But Bruce hopes to maybe bring in more than one player before the Magpies travel to Hibs on Tuesday.

"We have got one or two irons in the fire, whether we can get something over the line in the next couple of days, we'll see,” said Bruce.

“We have only brought one in but we’re doing our best. I think, as of this morning, I’ve been linked 26 players in a week - there will be more tomorrow!

“We’re busy working on that (improving the squad). We’ve still got a couple of weeks and I’m quietly confident that we’ll do some business.

“I hope so (edging closer to signing players). Transfers these days seem to go on and on and on. I’m not the right one (to ask) at the minute as I haven’t spoken to anyone today, so I’ll find out later tonight. Hopefully in the next 24/48 hours something might be closer.

Meanwhile, Bruce has explained the absence of Martin Dubravka.

“We just wanted to have the goalkeeper (Freddie Woodman) to have some minutes too,” said Bruce.

“(Karl) Darlow will probably play at Hibs on Tuesday. I just felt it’s important they rotate and have some game time, in case something happens to our number one.”

Achraf Lazaar was also absent from the Newcastle squad – he is a player who could be allowed to leave between now and August 8.