Steve Bruce gets Newcastle United budget assurances amid takeover uncertainty as Scotland international duo eyed
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But the Magpies boss expects he will NOT have as big a budget as previously thought due to the impact of coronavirus on the footballing landscape.
United’s immediate future remains up in the air, with a Saudi consortium’s £300 million bid to buy the club still with the Premier League. It is an on-going concern for everyone associated with the club, including Bruce who has stated his own frustration at the governing body’s indecision on the matter.
Plans, though, have been put in place – and Bruce has revealed he’s had conversations with club decision makers, who have assured him of his budget for the transfer window, which opens on Monday, July 27.
When asked by the Gazette about whether conversations had taken place with regards budgets for the summer, Bruce replied: “Yes, of course.
"There will be a lot of clubs – I was intrigued to listen to Mikel Arteta (Arsenal manager) – we’ve got to see where this leaves us in terms of what we have been through. That goes for a lot of clubs.
"I would envisage our budget is not going to be as big as what it was going to be in January before all this started.”
Bruce has previously gone on record stating his want for four new players in the summer window, aside from free transfer third choice keeper Mark Gillespie.
Having signed midfielder John McGinn for a knockdown fee for Aston Villa from St Mirren, Bruce is keen to be reunited with Celtic target, potentially taking advantage of the Birmingham outfit’s relegation from the Premier League, which with two games to go looks likely.
Other players such as international teammate Ryan Fraser and Liverpool and England man Adam Lallana, both of whom Bruce is a fan of, would not command a fee upfront, but would be pricey deals to do in terms of wages and fees.
"There are big discussions to be had but we are still always trying to go and find another player or two or three or four,” he said.
"And that’s always going to be my job – will knock on and break down the door because my job is to make sure we are competitive when we start up again.”
While uncertainty continues, like it did for much of last summer following the exit of Rafa Benitez and many of his coaches and backroom staff, recruitment, as it was in 2019, will remain a key part of the club’s agenda moving forward, according to Bruce.
And while the club’s recruitment team, headed up by the Steve Nickson, have taken stick for their move for two-league goal, £40 million Joelinton, they must also be credited with the £16 million signing of Allan Saint-Maximin.
“They’ve all contributed,” Bruce said of this season’s signings.
"It’s a difficult league and just by spending money doesn’t guarantee you anything.
"It makes a little bit easier but recruitment is key and certainly Allan and (Miguel) Almiron have improved us at crucial times. It’s vitally important that we keep working on that and trying to find a new Allan or new Almiron; that’s the key to it, the success of bringing people in who improve you.
“In that respect I think we’ve done OK. At a crucial time in January the loan signings helped us enormously. And let’s not forget Jetro (Willems), who was terrific for us before he had to go back. We have to keep trying to improve and seeing what we can do.”
Cash isn’t everything, though, as Bruce’s old club Aston Villa, where he was sacked in 2018, know too well.
"When I look at the quality of the teams below us, the three who will eventually go and Aston Villa, who spent £150m in the summer – only Real Madrid spent more- and I look at the quality of West Ham and Watford…..I am glad I’m not involved in that,” said Bruce.
"And look who is just above us and the qualities they’ve got, then I think we’ve done OK. But we can’t be happy with just being OK, we’ve got to be better.
"We can’t take that for granted and that’s always got to be the aim. But we are not alone, there are a lot of clubs exactly the same as we are. We can’t just be happy with where we are, we’ve got to keep improving and I will try and do that this summer with a few additions to the squad to make us better.