Steve Bruce has revealed how Nabil Bentaleb is already impressing at Newcastle United, saying he’s looked sharp in training and is in “remarkable” shape.
The NUFC boss says he’s “seen enough in two sessions” to know he’ll be a good signing for the club – and also seems taken aback by his fitness levels considering his last game for Schalke came in April 2019.
On Lazaro, Bruce also hints that the Inter Milan loanee could feature against Oxford tomorrow – a potentially exciting admission for those heading to tomorrow’s FA Cup 4th Round tie at St James’ Park on Saturday.
He also praises the Austrian’s versatility and pedigree, revealing how we beat a few big sides to his signature.
Starting with Bentaleb, here’s what Bruce has had to say about the immediate impression the Algerian has made in training:
“I’ve seen enough in two training sessions to know he’ll be good for us.
“He’s in remarkable shape despite having not played in a few months.
“He’ll make his debut tomorrow.”
This is reassuring to hear, suggesting he’s taken very good care of himself over the first half of the season – despite the fact he was banished by Schalke boss David Wagner and left to train with their reserves.
On Lazaro, Bruce tips the Austrian to be available for tomorrow’s game, also revealing why he looks set to be a real coup for the club after interest from Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig:
“He’s here. He’s in the building which is a good sign.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve managed to hold off a couple of clubs because once he became available, then somebody of his pedigree was always going to have a few options, and thankfully he’s chosen us.
“We hope to get the paperwork done so he can play tomorrow. There was big talk of Leipzig of course. But the idea of playing Premier League (has convinced him).”
“He will give us an extra something going forward. He can play in a few positions but ultimately is an out and out wide player who can give another something else down the right-hand side. We’re delighted we’ve got him.“
Good news all around then, with Lazaro set to sign, Bentaleb looking surprisingly fit in training and both expected to feature against Oxford tomorrow as a result.
Win tomorrow and sign a left-back and striker in the next 7 days and it’ll have been some January for Newcastle United!