Quick, decisive action by Newcastle United – but have they left Steve Bruce short in key areas? A transfer window Q&A

The summer transfer window is coming to a close – and it looks to be a quiet end for Newcastle United and Steve Bruce.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:47 pm
Newcastle striker Callum Wilson (r) celebrates with Allan Saint-Maximin after scoring his first and Newcastle's second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on October 03, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Newcastle striker Callum Wilson (r) celebrates with Allan Saint-Maximin after scoring his first and Newcastle's second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on October 03, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

With just the signing of Rodrigo Vilca to be confirmed, United's major business was done in the week prior to the Premier League season when £35 million was spent on Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis, with Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser also coming in on free transfers.

But what have our writers Miles Starforth and Liam Kennedy made of the window, United’s business and the state of play at St James’s Park? Here’s their thoughts...

Are Newcastle United done this window or could there be some late drama?

MS: “They’re done bar the arrival of Rodrigo Vilca. Steve Bruce said he didn’t foresee any more business after Saturday night’s 3-1 win over Burnley, and his position hasn’t changed, despite losing Fabian Schar to injury. We know the club, which thought it had clinched a loan deal for Arsenal’s Rob Holding in the summer, has been looking at defenders, but there weren’t too many options. Domestic deals, however, can still be done up to October 16.”

LK: “For a few weeks now they’ve been operating on the idea it would have to be outs before ins and they just haven’t been able to shift the deadwood around the squad in order to further strengthen. The long-term deals dished out to the likes of Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar have bitten the Magpies in the backside before, and seem to have done just that again, including the inability to shift Christian Atsu and DeAndre Yedlin in good time.”

Why have United been so quiet in the closing weeks of the window?

MS: “Since the arrivals of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis, Steve Bruce has maintained that the club needed to move players out of St James’s Park. One or two have gone, but more departures are clearly needed. The likes of Rolando Aarons, Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar remain at the club, and this is possibly a factor. They could yet leave before the second transfer deadline. The club, having spent around £35million on Wilson and Lewis, has been looking at loans, and the availability of loan players who can improve the squad is another factor. United thought they had Rob Holding, but he is staying at Arsenal. Finding a Premier League-quality striker who is available on loan is next to impossible.”

LK: “As mentioned above, they’ve not been able to wriggle enough room in the squad over the last few weeks, or in the budget, to break themselves free enough to sign new players.”

Will Steve Bruce be happy with the players at his disposal, or was he hoping for more recruits?

MS: “Yes and no. I think he’d be happier with another striker and a defender, but, clearly, is very happy with the players the club signed earlier in the window. United look to have done very good business, but the question is, of course, whether they have done enough business. Bruce has improved the squad, but there’s still room for improvement, and fans, understandably, are concerned about cover up front if they lose Wilson for any length of time. Also, Bruce looks short on numbers at the back with so many defenders injured, though Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark could be back for Manchester United.”

LK: “He definitely wanted more, but I think he can be happy with the business the club has done this summer. It was never going to be an easy market and United acted quick and decisively to get the players the manager wanted. It’s not often we have been able to say that with Newcastle United. They look light at the back with just a few injuries and will be in trouble if Callum Wilson gets injured, but Bruce will be content I’m sure.”

Have Newcastle added wisely in the window? What do you make of their business?

MS: “I think they have added wisely. Bruce wanted Premier League experience - and he got it. Not all of his predecessors have been able to sign players with top-flight experience, with the club having often gone overseas in search of better value signings. Wilson, Hendrick, Fraser and Hendrick were good to go in the Premier League, and they’ve all made an impact in the first few games.”

LK: “Yes. They definitely have. If you’d have asked me at the start of the summer whether I’d be happy with Callum Wilson, who I have been a massive fan of for years, and a left-back of Premier League quality I’d have been very happy. Yes they need a proper right back and more striker cover and importantly some midfield dynamism but it’s already turned out to be a better summer than I’d predicted, especially when the takeover hit the blocks.”

Signing of the summer, and the one that got away...

MS: “I think Wilson could well prove to be the signing of the summer. He’s the striker the club was crying out for last season, and he made a very good start to the season, becoming the first Newcastle player to score four goals in his first four Premier League games since Les Ferdinand in 1995/96. As for one that got away, we’ll have to see if the club’s decision not to sign an extra defender comes back to haunt them.”

LK: “Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are two top class signings who are both going to score and create lots of goals at United this season, and hopefully beyond. As for misses, I’d have to say not getting a midfielder in on loan could prove costly, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley both made available by Chelsea. Another area United might find themselves short is up top. What happens if Wilson gets a long-term injury? We know the reality is back to Joelinton as a No9 – and that’s a very worrying thought.”

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