Steve Bruce made plain his frustration at Newcastle’s lack of transfer market activity this summer as he spoke publicly for the first time since a disappointing deadline day.
The Newcastle manager’s sole summer signing was Joe Willock but, after spending the latter half of last season on loan at St James’ Park, the £22m former Arsenal midfielder was already a familiar face.
Bruce had hoped Willock would be joined by two loanees, the Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury and a central defender, but his board refused to fund those deals. Newcastle issued a lengthy statement defending the lack of incomings and suggesting the manager had known the “budgetary parameters” dictated further additions would be impossible.
“I thought a couple of additions to the squad would help us enormously,” said Bruce whose side travel to Manchester United on Saturday aiming to keep the returning Cristiano Ronaldo quiet as they seek their first win. “Unfortunately it wasn’t possible. We were hoping we could trade a couple of players in order to bring in a couple. Unfortunately it didn’t work, it didn’t happen. We were unable to trade.
“It was frustrating but that was the stance of the club. I think the statement has made it pretty obvious what that stance is, I have to accept it and move on. It is what it is. What can I do about it?
“I think I made it pretty clear I would like to bring a couple in. That wasn’t possible so I have to get on with it. My job is to keep improving. We should never be satisfied.”
A thigh injury deprives Bruce of his key striker, Callum Wilson, but Karl Darlow could replace Freddie Woodman in goal after recovering from Covid, and Newcastle’s Paraguay playmaker, Miguel Almirón, has been cleared to play after an argument about quarantine regulations with Fifa. “Karl’s put himself in contention,” Bruce saidr. “Whether he’s fit enough to start, I’m not quite sure; I’ll have to make that decision.”
Perhaps worryingly, Bruce could offer no timescale regarding Wilson’s expected return.