The damning verdict on Newcastle United's summer transfer business and Steve Bruce's future

The opening month of the Premier League season has only just ended – and Newcastle United look to be in somewhat disarray.
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Following a winless start to the campaign, it was hoped Steve Bruce would strengthen his squad beyond that of Joe Willock.

And despite some renewed efforts for a loan deal on deadline day – the Magpies head coach was ultimately left disappointed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Our writers Miles Starforth and Jordan Cronin assess the club’s transfer business, what’s next for Bruce and the ambitions for the season:

What are your thoughts on Newcastle United’s summer transfer window?

MS: “The main thing, for me, is that the club’s squad is arguably weaker, and not stronger, following the window. Of course, it was great to see the club go and get Joe Willock on a permanent deal, but the club needed four of five players this summer to progress. Most importantly, the club had needed more cover for Callum Wilson, but a move for a senior striker was surprisingly never on the agenda.”

JC: “One word springs to mind… gamble. That’s what this is from Mike Ashley, another gamble. A huge one at that. The starting XI is the same as the one that ended last season but the overall squad is weaker after several exits. As a Premier League club, I’d go as far as to say it’s pathetic but most importantly, it’s worrying.”

Has Steve Bruce been “hung out to dry” by Mike Ashley and his lack of spending?

MS: “It looks that way. Bruce has done everything Ashley has asked of him since joining the club. He’s kept the club in the Premier League for two seasons - and he’s towed the party line, unlike Rafa Benitez, his predecessor. His pleas for more signings, however, weren’t heeded.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

JC: “Yes, absolutely. He got Willock but that’s nowhere enough. His signing should have been the start, not the end. Supporters will rightly say Bruce knew what he was getting into when he accepted the job but when you clear almost £200,000 off the wage bill in one summer, I don’t think it’s wrong to expect at least a loan signing, i.e. Hamza Choudhury.”

Does the lack of business increase the pressure on Joe Willock to hit the ground running again?

MS: “Willock will be an important player this season, but we can’t expect too much from him last season. He had a phenomenal run late last season, but he’s still young, and he can’t be expected to pick up where he left off. He’ll need time to get up to speed after sitting out most of Arsenal’s pre-season.”

JC: “Willock was instrumental in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League and due to the lack of signings, his importance becomes greater. It’ll take something pretty special for him to match last season’s efforts of eight goals in 14 games. Again, take those goals out of the equation and it spells danger. It’s going to take a huge team effort.”

Where does this leave Steve Bruce at Newcastle United? What’s next?

MS: “It leaves him in a very awkward position. We’ve already had chants for him to go, and those calls will only intensify if the club can’t get some wins on the board. The problem is that Bruce has a squad short in key positions, notably in the forward areas. If the club loses Wilson for any length of time, where are the goals going to come from?”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

JC: “While Ashley has thrown his manager under the bus, Bruce has chosen to get up and carry on. He needs results quickly or things will turn very sour. Ashley can hide but Bruce can’t, not when supporters are back inside St James’s Park. Really, he is in an impossible position, which raises further questions as to why he wants to remain in the job.”

It’s early days but where do you see Newcastle United finishing this season?

MS: “I think staying up will be an achievement. Matching, or bettering, last season’s 12th-placed finish looks to be a big ask for a squad which hasn’t been strengthened or refreshed.”

JC: “Newcastle still have enough quality inside their dressing room to stay up, though an injury to Callum Wilson or Allan Saint-Maximin impacts their chances. That said, Bruce must find a way of getting results and if the club does drop into the Championship, it’s on him, not just Ashley.”