Steve Bruce reveals how Newcastle United 'broke' Mike Ashley's transfer rules

Steve Bruce has explained how Newcastle United were able to afford Joe Willock.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 5:17 pm
Joe Willock.

Willock joined the club from Arsenal in a deal worth more than £20million earlier this month following a successful half-year loan last season.

Bruce – who could yet name four goalkeepers in his 25-man Premier League squad with Martin Dubravka sidelined following surgery and Karl Darlow struggling with the after-effects of Covid-19 – made it clear at the start of the summer that there wasn’t much money available given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the club’s finances.

Newcastle are looking at bringing in a player on loan in the final days of the transfer window.

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Asked if there was no money left to spend, Bruce said: “I’ve made no secret to the fact with Covid there wasn’t a lot of money in the budget at all.

“There wasn’t enough money to buy Joe Willock, but we managed to do it, broke all our transfer rules from the last few years.

“I always said we maybe needed one or two to leave as well. That hasn’t happened. We’re in this situation where, yes, we haven’t got a lot of money. There’s no money to be had.

“However, is there a loan deal like Joe Willock? Look how well he did for us. We’ve had one or two who’ve done extremely well. That’s the market we’re looking at.

“We’re still got the decision on the goalkeepers, and I’ll make that decision over the weekend, because Karl’s had some tests over the last couple of days. We’ll see how he is. I’ve said all along we’ll probably be in the loan market, rather than anybody walking through the door as a permanent signing.”

United initially tried to re-sign Willock on another loan, but Arsenal made it clear that they wanted to sell the 21-year-old, who scored eight goals for the club last season.

Under Mike Ashley’s ownership, the club has looked to pay up front for players. However, Newcastle will pay for Willock in instalments.

"The budget wasn’t enough to buy Joe Willock, but we managed to break all our transfer rules to buy him,” said head coach Bruce. “I believe we paid for it in instalments, which isn’t the policy.”

United have lost their first three games this season.

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