There are no excuses now for Steve Bruce at Newcastle United
The smallest deal was also, arguably, the biggest deal on Tyneside.
Bringing Andy Carroll back is a kind of a big deal, even though the striker, a free agent after leaving West Ham United, has only signed a one-year pay-as-you-play deal.
Newcastle United have had a good transfer window. The club has signed five players – Carroll, Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems – since Steve Bruce took charge last month.
United’s squad, unquestionably, looks a lot stronger than it did a few weeks ago when Bruce arrived, jet-lagged, in China for the second of the club’s Premier League Asia Trophy games.
The club has lost the Premier League experience of Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez and Mohamed Diame. Only time will tell how long it will take their replacements to adjust to the pace and intensity of English football.
What is clear is that the areas which needed addressing have been addressed.
Bruce – who intends to play a 3-5-2 formation – needed more up front and more out wide. The squad looked well short in the forward areas when he took charge. It was also vulnerable in the wing-back positions. It doesn’t look as vulnerable now.
Newcastle’s head coach has too many players – not everyone will make the club’s 25-man squad – and more players could follow Jacob Murphy out on loan in the coming weeks. But can Bruce mould these players into a competitive, winning team? That’s the question.
At least the signings have given fans some hope that this season could be about more than just survival.