Steve Bruce reveals who he spoke to about Newcastle United signing Nabil Bentaleb
Steve Bruce has done his homework on new Newcastle United signing Nabil Bentaleb.
Bentaleb, signed on loan this week, is set to make his debut in tomorrow’s home FA Cup tie against Oxford United.
The midfielder hasn’t played a first-team game for parent club Schalke 04 since last April, having been demoted to the reserve-team set-up following an argument.
Bruce, however, isn’t concerned about Bentaleb’s temperament, though he admits he has previous got into off-pitch “arguments”.
“It's fair to say he’ll have an argument, but he wants to win – and I've got no problem with that,” said United’s head coach.
“The people I've spoken to, who had him before, had no issues at all. I always check up, and all the reports I came back with were nothing but positive. He's got himself into this situation because he's had a row with someone, but how often have we seen that? It's to our advantage.
“Up until last year, he was playing week in week out for a big club in Germany, playing in the Champions League. Because of that situation, I think we have got ourselves a very good player.
“It's up to me to get the best out of him, manage him, and I’m quietly confident that's what we will do.”
Bruce spoke to former Newcastle striker Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood, who knew Bentaleb from his time at Tottenham Hotspur.
“We spoke to Les Ferdinand, Tim Sherwood, people who had him as a young boy,” said Bruce. “The two of them were glowing about him, so no problem.”
Asked if clubs outside the top six had to sometimes sign players with rough edges, Bruce said: “Yes, 100%. That goes for a lot of good players, too, who we’re trying to bring in.
“That's the difficulty of trying to bring in people. There are just not enough top players that we are all looking for, especially in January, so usually you look for a fall-out with Bentaleb, or someone who it's not gone so well, like (Valentino) Lazaro at Inter. For us to get them two, that right quality, is vitally important.”
Bentaleb is fit enough to start against Oxford. Bruce said: “He's in great nick.”