Steve Bruce responds to Newcastle United takeover and transfer questions

Steve Bruce has addressed the takeover uncertainty at Newcastle United ahead of the new season.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 10:10 am

The club yesterday kicked off it’s pre-season campaign with a 1-0 defeat to non-league York City.

Newcastle are yet to make a signing this summer, though the club has secured a number of players, notably Federico Fernandez and Jacob Murphy, on longer deals.

The club’s pre-season fixtures come against a backdrop of legal moves aimed at resurrecting a proposed £300million takeover of the club.

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Newcastle want an arbitration hearing to be held in public, while there is also a separate Competition Appeal Tribunal case.

Bruce has rejected the notion that the uncertainty is affecting preparations on the training pitch, and the club’s work in the transfer market, though he has conceded it’s “not easy”.

"No, my job is to carry on, and I'll carry on to the best of my ability,” said United’s head coach. “It's not easy, it's what I've got to do, though."

Asked if he had been told he couldn’t sign anyone, Bruce said: "No, no, no. We carry on as best we can."

Steve Bruce.

Joe Willock – who had a successful half-season loan at Newcastle from Arsenal – is the club’s primary summer transfer target, and there have been discussions between the two clubs over another loan.

United had been hoping to get a deal done for the 21-year-old midfielder before Mikel Arteta’s squad leave the country this week for a pre-season tournament in the USA, but Bruce has suggested that Arsenal are yet to make a decision on his future.

"Nothing's really changed on that,” said Bruce. “I knew from the end of last season that Arsenal would gather him in, see what they get in themselves, judge him on pre-season, whatever.

"It's Arsenal's call, really. We've got to be patient, I understand, but, obviously, there comes a time when we've got to make a decision for us. We're very, very short in the middle of the park at the minute. Very, very short. It's something we need to address."

Joe Willock celebrates a goal against Liverpool last season.

United – who have agreed to sell Florian Lejeune to Alaves – are also looking to sign a defender.

Asked if any other deals were close, Bruce said: "We've got one or two things bubbling away. Obviously with Joe, it's in Arsenal's court and we cannot dictate to Arsenal.

"We've got one or two others bubbling away. I know for a fact it's going to be very, very slow in terms of the transfer market. I knew it was going to be with the European Championships and Covid affecting everybody.

"It's difficult for everybody at the moment. So there'll be a bit of work to be done, we've got one or two things bubbling, but nothing really imminent."

Meanwhile, striker Andy Carroll has not been offered a new deal following the expiry of his contract at the end of last month.

"He's out of contract,” said Bruce. “I had a conversation with Andy. I think he wants to go and play. I wish the lad all the best.”

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