Steve Bruce reveals why he wanted to sign Nabil Bentaleb as Newcastle United focus shifts to other targets

Steve Bruce has revealed he has been keeping tabs on Nabil Bentaleb for a number of years and believes he will prove a ‘great signing’ for Newcastle United.
Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce.Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce.
Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce.

Bentaleb has joined on loan from Schalke 04 for the rest of the season, with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer.

The 25-year-old midfielder has previously played in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur, he made 66 appearances before moving to Schalke, initially on loan, in August 2016.

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Reflecting on his first piece of January transfer business, Bruce said: “He's somebody who I paid particular attention to when he was at Spurs, when he broke through and got a big money move to Germany.

“He's played at the highest level now for the last four or five years but he will come in hungry and feeling he has something to prove and will give us the competition we obviously need.

“With the numbers that we've got at the minute, he's got a bit of experience and I think people will enjoy watching him play.

“He'll come into the squad and I'm sure he'll be a good acquisition for us.

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“The fact that he's played in the Premier League before helps, because we know that he can play and knows what the demands of the Premier League are.

“He's gone from the Premier League to Schalke and played in the Champions League as well, so we're delighted to get him. It's a great signing.”

January attention will now turn to other positions, with Newcastle prioritising a new left-back after losing Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett for the season.

Bruce says there is money available to sign cover for that position in this month’s transfer window.

“Things change in two or three days.

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“We have funds available, and we’re active at this moment. Because of what’s just happened, we’re short in that area. We might have to look and see if we can do anything in the short term. We’ll see who’s out there.”