When asked if he’ll be looking to bring in another striker at the end of July, Steve Bruce had this to say:
“We’ve got Allan, Joe, Almiron. We’ve got Dwight. We’ve got five. How many do you have in a squad of 22 outfield players?
“I’ve probably got to look at picking four goalkeepers in the squad, which is a little bit unheard of, but with the problems I’ve got there, that’s in the back of my mind at the minute.
“I think we’ve got adequate cover up there [in attack]”
It seemed a naive and incredibly risky approach at the time, however these comments are now looking more and more foolish by the minute.
Not only did the NUFC boss fail to land a much needed midfielder or centre-back on deadline day, he made it pretty clear a month before the window closed that he didn’t need another forward – insisting he had ‘adequate cover’ in attack.
Fast forward almost six weeks and we’re now reading reports that Callum Wilson could be set for a ‘number of weeks’ after aggravating a thigh problem in our 2-2 draw with Southampton the weekend before last.
Considering the injury issues he had during his first season on Tyneside and our over reliance on the 29-year-old, the signing of another striker should’ve been an absolute no-brainer over the summer.
With Andy Carroll released and not replaced, Dwight Gayle is now the ONLY senior striker at the club behind Callum Wilson – and he is hardly reliable when it comes to his ability to stay fit or score goals at this level!
But no, Bruce insisted back in July that he didn’t need another striker. He may have known he was working on a tight budget, and perhaps he privately wanted another forward signed, however the fact he practically ruled out what seemed such a crucial signing says a lot.
He seems happy to settle and surrender to those above him – people who are always happy to take potentially season defining risks by leaving us short in key areas.
What’s more, you have to laugh at the players Bruce describes as other options up top.
We’ve already talked about why Gayle isn’t a reliable option, but we then have ASM, who isn’t a striker, Almiron, who Bruce now plays as a central midfielder and Joelinton – a man who has just six Premier League goals in 72 games.
Bruce may have been ignored in his battle to land a midfield enforcer and athletic centre-back, but the fact he went public in playing down our need for another striker looks more and more baffling by the day.