Why Steve Bruce is prepared to say 'no' in January's transfer window
There will be some money available for squad strengthening in the New Year.
And Bruce – whose side taken on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this afternoon – plans to speak to Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruitment, in the next fortnight about potential targets.
However, Bruce is wary about what he believes is a “difficult” market, and United’s head coach says he will “have the balls to say ‘no’” if he doesn’t find what he’s looking for in the window.
“If I'm brutally honest, I haven't really thought about January just yet, because I've always found January a difficult market,” said Bruce, who insisted that he would have the final say on any signing when he succeeded Rafa Benitez in the summer.
“Can you get what you really want? I think that's key, especially in the transfer market. Can you get what you really want? If you can't, have the balls to say no.”
Bruce hopes that contract talks with a number of players can be concluded in the meantime.
Matty Longstaff – who scored on his Premier League debut against Manchester United before the international break – is set for a new deal.
There have also been contract discussions with his elder brother Sean, while Martin Dubravka, Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden are in line for new contracts.
Bruce will speak to managing director Lee Charnley – who has been leading talks with representatives of the players – next week, when he hopes he will get an update on progress.
“I've got a meeting with Lee scheduled for this week,” said Bruce. “I only spoke to him (on Thursday). We'll get together this week or next week.
“He’s talking to a few of the players – the two Longstaffs, in particular – and there's (Jonjo) Shelvey on the agenda, the goalkeeper (Dubravka) and Matt Ritchie.
“He’s talking, we’re talking, but they seem to take forever. It's not an easy job now.”