According to The Athletic, Steve Bruce is hoping to improve his Newcastle United side in three key areas in January, with a versatile striker, a dominant box-to-box midfielder and another centre-back top of his wishlist.
Chris Waugh insists that there is ‘money available’, despite the financial impact COVID-19 has had, however he does state that any substantial permanent deals will only be sanctioned for “the right players”, meaning Bruce must still work under Mike Ashley’s transfer blue print.
With that in mind, the ‘right deals’ may not come about and we may be forced to look at the loan market – and The Athletic reckon we are likely to use up BOTH loan slots Steve Bruce left alone over the summer.
This is an approach we adopted last January, with Danny Rose, Valentino Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb all arriving on loan.
Here’s what Chris Waugh had to say when asked: ‘Are there plans for more recruitment in January or will that depend on league position? Will there by money to spend or are loans likely?‘
There is money available — even given the financial effects of coronavirus, due to television rebates and a lack of matchday revenue from behind-closed-doors games, Newcastle do still have modest funds — but the persistent message is that it will only be released for “the right players”.
During the summer, when Newcastle spent around £35 million on transfer fees, Bruce opted against using either of his domestic loan slots once a deal for Arsenal’s Rob Holding collapsed, and sources indicate that one if not both of those could be filled in January. Loans from the Continent have not been ruled out, either, although Bruce is keen to continue his summer trend of signing Premier League-seasoned players if possible.
Newcastle expect to do business regardless of their league position in January but they are likely to be more active if they find themselves in trouble. Regardless, it is anticipated loans will form an important part of their thinking.
Given Newcastle’s failure to dominate matches in the middle of the pitch this season, the need for a box-to-box midfielder has become ever more acute and Steve Nickson, the head of recruitment, has been tracking several potential targets.
A midfielder, a centre-back and another forward — potentially a versatile one who can play anywhere across the front line — are among the positions Bruce would like to augment if possible. Short-term options on loan may prove more attainable than permanent solutions, though.
As you can see above, it seems Steve Bruce is still intent on bringing in players with Premier League experience.
It’s also interesting to see that Bruce is still wanting to sign a box-to-box midfielder who can ‘dominate’ matches – something we’re in dire need of after some flimsy displays in the middle of the park.
With that and the fact Steve Nickson has been tracking ‘several targets’ in this position, it seems like Bruce’s search for a box-to-box midfielder may crank up in January, with a versatile forward and centre-back clearly on our radar.