With just 12 days of the summer transfer window remaining, Steve Bruce has revealed that we’ll be unable to bring in any new signings if fringe players aren’t moved on in the next few weeks.
The manager has been outspoken about the need to create space in the squad, and has now mentioned that five or six players are currently training with the U-23’s – with the Northern Echo reporting that Atsu, Yedlin, Saivet, Lazaar, Aarons, Barlaser and Murphy look set to be moved on if the right offer arrives.
It’s been widely reported that he wants to bring in at LEAST one more player – a striker and centre-back are said to be his top targets – Bruce insists that our current squad size is too big and accepts we “can’t keep collecting players”.
Here’s what he told the Northern Echo about the awkward position we find ourselves in ahead of the October 5th deadline:
“I have to try to work on [reducing] the size of the squad because we can’t just keep collecting players.
“We have got five or six training with the under 23s and that is not healthy at all for anybody.
“That [moving players out] has to be a big part of the remit between now and the end of the window.
“We have brought in some really good additions to the squad and at the moment, only two [Muto and Lejeune] have gone.
“So, we have to try to make room [to have any chance of making more signings]. “It’s always a difficult one.
“If you remember last year, Colback and Saivet missed out [on the NUFC Premier League squad] and if you look at somebody like Jack, he’s playing regularly now for Notts Forest.
“There are always difficult decision to be made. “I’ve gone on record to say that two or three players in particular need to go and get fixed up somewhere and find a new home if they can.
“It is not healthy that they are training with the under 23s but I’m not sending them down there as a punishment, it’s just that we want to work with a certain number.
“Once your numbers start to get towards 28 [outfield players], it’s very difficult.
“We don’t want to work with that number and if possible, we want to work with 20 outfield players every day.”
It’s essential that some of these players are moved on before the window closes, not just to raise funds but to create some much needed space both on the training ground and in Bruce’s 25-man squad.
We are still desperate for a few signings that will improve the squad strength, meaning the seven deemed surplus to requirements are simply taking up space and costing us a wage we’d rather not be paying.
With Bruce said to be eyeing loan moves for a centre-back and striker, we’ll have to hope interest arrives and our fringe men do the right thing in pursuing pastures new.