Steve Bruce challenged on Newcastle United squad strength after transfer disappointment

Steve Bruce has denied claims that Newcastle United’s summer transfer business has weakened his squad.
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The winless club only signed one player – Joe Willock – in the transfer window. The 21-year-old midfielder – who spent the second half of last season on loan at the club – joined from Arsenal in a £20million-plus deal.

Bruce pushed for a couple of late loan deals to strengthen his options in midfield and defence – there were talks over a move for 23-year-old Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury – but the club’s hierarchy wouldn’t sanction any more deals without outgoings.

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United’s head coach, preparing his team for tomorrow's game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, also lost Andy Carroll and Christian Atsu following the expiry of their deals, while Matty Longstaff was loaned to Aberdeen.

Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar, not involved last season, also left the club after their long deals finally ended.

Asked if his Premier League squad was now weaker, Bruce said: “No, because we’ve made Joe Willock permanent. If we hadn’t of made Joe Willock (permanent), then you could arguably say that.

"With Joe Willock being ours, I believe we’re the same sort of strength as we were last year. Yes, we’ve lost a few numbers, but, let’s be honest, two, three, four of those numbers weren’t even in the 25-man squad.

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“So, we have a squad of players which did very, very well at the back end of the season.

Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

"There’s no secret that I’d have liked to have strengthened the squad, that’s my job. My job’s to never, ever be satisfied. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to bring in a couple, which would have strengthened the squad.”

Asked if there had been a “misunderstanding” with the club over the funds available in the final days of the window, Bruce said: "My job’s to never be satisfied.

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"It's frustrating, and I knew what the stance of the club was. I have to accept it, and move on. To have brought in two, we would have had to make room, and we were unable to trade as well."

Joe Willock.Joe Willock.
Joe Willock.

On Choudhury, Bruce said: “He’s was one of the few we were looking at.”

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