Steve Bruce drops Newcastle United transfer hint ahead of end-of-season talks with Lee Charnley
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Bruce will hold transfer talks with the club’s hierarchy next week following the conclusion of the Premier League season this weekend.
The club must also make decisions on those players whose contracts expire at the end of the season, notably Dwight Gayle, Andy Carroll, Jacob Murphy and Federico Fernandez. The club has an option to extend Fabian Schar’s deal by another year.
January loan signing Joe Willock – who took his goal tally for the club to seven with a strike in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United – is a primary target for the club, though Arsenal manager Mike Arteta has suggested that the 21-year-old midfielder has a future at the Emirates Stadium.
"I think we need at least three or four (signings), but, for me, now, it's adding that bit of quality to the squad,” said Bruce, speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
"We've seen the impact that Callum (Wilson) has had, for example, and that bit of quality we can add to the existing squad we've got is the most important thing."
The personal fortune of United owner Mike Ashley increased by £769million to £2.718billion over the past 12 months, according to the Sunday Times’ Rich List.
Bruce, however, doesn’t foresee much money being spent by Newcastle this summer given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the self-financing club’s balance sheet.
Asked about Ashley’s fortune, United’s head coach said: “My job is always to knock on the door (and ask for money), and believe me, I’ll knock the door as hard as I can, of course. That’s my job.
“Usually I go through my CEO, Lee (Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director), and he’s fed up of me knocking on the door. If that’s right about Mike, then good for him.”
Bruce has repeatedly insisted that he will not walk away from the job – and boos from fans in midweek have not changed his mind.
“Obviously, there are big conversations to be had,” said Bruce, who has a year left on his contract. “Let's see. I’m too early to retire. I’m getting ready for pre-season, for the transfer window, unless someone tells me different.
“As I’ve said about criticism, if it’s fair and balanced, when it’s ridicule, it gets your back up. It’s too early to retire yet, and I’ll carry on as long as people want me to do that.”
The past season has been one of the hardest in Bruce’s two decades in management.
Newcastle’s training ground was shut late last year due a Covid-19 outbreak, while key players, including Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, have suffered injuries.
“I’ve been asked many times ‘do you enjoy management?’,” said Bruce.
“Nothing’s better than playing. Do you ever really enjoy management? You enjoy certain elements, it doesn't last very long. Enjoy,? I wouldn't say you enjoy it.
"It’s a challenge. There’s always something around the corner. That’s managing – it’s a difficult job.”