The Magpies’ early-season form wasn’t the most inspiring, but a good run before the international break saw Steve Bruce guide the black and white army to 13th in the Premier League table.
Whilst there are bound to be more twists and turns over the coming weeks, Bruce does seem to have a squad of players focused on performing for him. As a late arrival at the club, he didn’t get the longest period of time to attract new talent, but that is likely to change over the winter transfer window.
Whilst they’ve rarely been at the forefront of big-money transfers under Mike Ashley’s ownership, Bruce will be keen to add value to his squad when the opportunity arises. Premier League survival is the bare minimum expected of him, but if the Newcastle-native could steer them to consolidation and mid-table obscurity, fans might warm to his reign as manager. If he is to be a success, then he’s going to have to attract a good calibre of player to St James’ Park. So let’s take a look at four he’s been linked with in recent months.
The Arsenal captain is highly likely to leave the Emirates this January after a recent incident in which he gestured to his own fans after being booed off the field. iNews report that the Swiss international was dropped after his outburst against Crystal Palace and that seems set to spark his departure from North London. That’s put Newcastle on high alert, with Bruce believing he has an advantage in his hunt for the player. The former Aston Villa boss believes Xhaka’s friendship with Newcastle and Switzerland star Fabian Schar could be a key factor in attracting the former Borussia Mönchengladbach man to Tyneside.
The Chronicle Live have suggested that Bruce could be interested in Hull City hotshot Jarrod Bowen, who has nine goals in 16 matches for the Tigers. In Ladbrokes’ update on Championship action this season, Bowen is described as one of Hull’s key players after a stunning season in 2018/19. The 22-year-old left Hereford United as a youngster and bagged 37 goals in two seasons going into the current campaign. He’s also been the subject of interest from Spurs, but Newcastle are thought to be at the head of the queue, with Bowen not just offering goals but also the potential for a big resale if his development continues.
23-year-old Lopes is currently plying his trade with Sevilla in La Liga, but has also featured for Monaco and Lille in a varied career. He started out as a youth at Benfica before a move to Manchester City, but he failed to make a breakthrough at the Etihad. He did make enough appearances to get a League Cup medal in 2015, adding a Ligue 1 runner’s up medal to that with Monaco. Capped twice by Portugal, the Northern Echo believe Lopes is on Bruce’s hitlist when the window opens at the end of 2019.
24-year-old Senegalese striker Diallo smashed 26 goals in 37 outings for Metz as they won the French second division last season and has open the current campaign with eight in 13, including a brace as Monaco were beaten 3-0. He’s also being tracked by Leicester City, Chelsea and Spurs which might put him out of reach of the Magpies. Figures for his services range from £7m to £18m according to which source you listen to, but that could change significantly if he remains above Mbappe, Di Maria and Icardi in the French leading scorer charts.