Steve Bruce set to get up to £80m to spend in the summer ‘If the right targets are available’ – Report

I have just been reading that Steve Bruce is going to get a significant transfer budget in the summer.

The Chronicle reporting ‘Bruce will get a spending spree’ in the next transfer window, unless he relegates Newcastle United.

As to how much, Lee Ryder states that his understanding is that it will be up to around £80m to spend.

Though he adds that this depends on ‘if the right targets arise’…

So that is somewhere between £80m and £0 (if the right targets don’t arise).

For most Newcastle fans, these are two different things.

What Steve Bruce will spend and what Newcastle United will spend.

Last summer, Mike Ashley decided the signings, with the club admitting that Joelinton, ASM and Krafth were players/deals arranged before Steve Bruce arrived.

A crocked Andy Carroll (fit enough to only make 4 starts in 31 games so far and injured yet again for the foreseeable) was a Mike Ashley PR stunt, then Steve Bruce wasn’t allowed to buy anybody in January, with only loan deals sanctioned by Mike Ashley.

The whole thing is a joke anyway.

To try and make out that Rafa Benitez was being  unreasonable with alleged demands on transfer budget, Lee Charnley stated in April 2019 that there would be £61m available to spend this (2019/20) season, plus any money raised from selling players.

In the summer Newcastle bought Joelinton (£40m), ASM (£16m rising to £20m) and Krafth (£5m), whilst they sold Perez (£30m) and Joselu (£2m), meaning that according to Lee Charnley there should have been around £28m (£61m budget + £32m sales – £65m buys) left over to spend in January 2020.

Yet not one player was bought.

So for starters, there should be £28m to spend before you even get to a 2020/21 budget.

The thing is, if Mike Ashley is making the decisions, what chance is there no matter how much there is to spend, when Ashley thinks Joelinton was a bargain at £40m. The NUFC owner actually mocking Rafa Benitez last July for refusing to sanction buying the  Brazilian early in 2019.

Due to the Ashley controlled transfer mess of the past year, only three of the eight signings are contracted beyond June 2020, so Newcastle have to basically start again, though in reality it is several steps back when you take into account Krafth is no Premier League player and the money wasted on Joelinton, who is at best a £10m team player, not a £40m goalscorer.

Newcastle need two goalscorers as a minimum in the summer that should have been bought last summer, which is before you then get to having to replace Manquillo, Darlow, Elliot, Fernandez who all see their contracts end this summer, with then a host of players set to have only a year left on their deals when we get to the end of June.

Not forgetting  Matty Longstaff, who Mike Ashley refuses to offer a decent contract to and who will leave for £400,000 development compensation in the summer unless something changes.

As it stands as well, Steve Bruce thinks the three January loan players are better than their rivals at the club, so surely that means those three need to be bought, or equivalent alternatives, just to be at the level of team/squad we have now.

A serious amount of transfer deals in and out are needed in the summer and we have the collective talents of Ashley, Charnley and Bruce to achieve that.

What could possibly go wrong…

The Chronicle report from Lee Ryder:

“I think if this season goes to plan and Newcastle stay up, Bruce will get a spending spree in the summer.

“How much will that be?

“It’s always hard to say but I’d think between £60m to £80m should be at his disposal if the right targets arise.”

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Valentino Lazaro agent telling all parties different things, that they want to hear

Valentino Lazaro Steve Bruce

Valentino Lazaro signed on loan for Newcastle United on 24 January 2020.

Despite widespread media coverage that there was an option to buy included in the deal, ahead of the formal announcement, Newcastle United made no mention of it in their statement.

However, Inter Milan did state that there was an option to buy in their brief announcement confirming the loan deal.

In a lengthy interview on the club’s TV channel, Valentino Lazaro made no mention of the possibility of signing permanently and wasn’t asked at all about it. Instead the player saying the big attraction of the move was regular football, that would also help prepare him for this summer’s euros with Austria.

In no interviews since, has Lazaro talked about staying on after this initial loan spell.

Interesting then to see the player’s agent Max Hagmayr talking to the Chronicle this week (see below).

Hagmayr going on at length about how great Newcastle United are etc etc etc, even though he came to talk to Newcastle and then very publicly went to talk to other clubs.

The agent ending  by saying…’I would not say no [to a permanent deal] because we appreciate everything Newcastle is doing for Valentino.’

However, this isn’t what Lazaro’s agent has been saying to the Italian media.

This is typical of what he has been telling them, speaking to FC Inter News at the end of January, Hagmayr said this about Valentino Lazaro: ‘The player’s first choice is to go back to Inter. With more time available he wants to demonstrate that he can help the Nerazzurri club to win the Scudetto.’

You very much get the feeling that Lazaro’s agent is telling people what they want to hear, especially the Chronicle and anybody connected to Newcastle United.

Valentino Lazaro was chased by a number of clubs last summer and went to Inter Milan for Champions League football and fighting for a title (Inter are currently top of Serie A).

There is no way that his ambitions have dropped so far so quickly as to wanting to permanently attach himself to a Mike Ashley NUFC, a club ran with no ambition, no desire to try and succeed in any way on the pitch, never mind play in Europe and/or winning things.

It hurts you as a fan to say this but that’s the reality.

NUFC are simply being used by the likes of Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro to get some football these next three months to prepare them for the Euros, then they will be playing/signing for other clubs next August.

Back in the days of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby, Rose and Lazaro would be desperate to sign permanently for NUFC but that is not the reality now under Mike Ashley.

Valentino Lazaro agent Max Hagmayr talking to the Chronicle – 10 February 2020:

“He’s very happy to be in Newcastle, it is a top club.

“We also had very good talks with RB Leipzig and other clubs but we decided to go to Newcastle because Steve Bruce gave the boy a very good feeling and the talks and negotiations with Lee Charnley were good.

“The other clubs also told him he would play – all the clubs said the same ahead of the European Championships – and it was not about money because he could have earned the same at every club. It was the small things that made you feel that this might be the right club.

“It was how Steve Nickson introduced the club and how they made the decision to go for Valentino. He was very well-prepared. They were checking Valentino and this gives you a good feeling. Not only that they like the player and they want him but they made the decision for him and that made him feel safe after the six months at Inter.

“When I see Valentino now and how happy he is, I know we did a few things right coming here.

“We will see what’s going on in the next few months but first of all we have to live in the now. I would not say no [to a permanent deal] because we appreciate everything Newcastle is doing for Valentino.”

Max Hagmayr speaking to FCInterNews about the Valentino Lazaro loan move and what the intentions are then in the summer – 27 January 2020:

Not just Newcastle, West Ham, Leipzig and Werder Bremen also wanted it (to sign Valentino Lazro)?:

“Newcastle had been very serious in moving the deal forward and we are happy with how it all went: we are satisfied.”

What is the mood of the player?

“Valentino is happy to play in the Premier League and to be able to improve himself and his qualities in the English league.”

Will he return to Milan in June?

“The player’s first choice is to go back to Inter.

“With more time available he wants to demonstrate that he can help the Nerazzurri club to win the Scudetto “

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This 17 day period could be key to West Brom v Newcastle United FA Cup outcome

premier league form table

On Tuesday 3 March 2020 at 8pm, it is kick-off for West Brom v Newcastle.

A decider to see who reaches the last eight of the FA Cup and then be only one step from Wembley.

The tie to be sorted on the night, no replays and instead extra-time and penalties if necessary.

From our recent experiences under Mike Ashley, Newcastle fans know that the Championship is a marathon, not a sprint.

Even though eventually going up as champions both times, the 46 game Championship campaigns were still intense and the sheer number of games can see some poor runs of form that barely touch your high up league position.

West Brom have experienced this recently.

Flying high they suddenly went from the 14 December 2019 to February, without winning a single league match.

Yet today they find themselves four points clear at the top of the Championship, as in February a home win over Luton at home and then victory at Millwall on Sunday (yesterday) has put them in a strong position at the top.

In that period between mid-December and end of January, there were only two wins, both away, at Charlton and West Ham in the FA Cup.

For the Baggies the games continue to come thick and fast and starting with Reading away on Wednesday, West Brom have five league matches over a 17 day stretch, before a few days without games ahead of facing Newcastle.

Back on form now, West Brom could easily now go on an extensive winning run and put daylight between themselves and the rest, by the time it comes to West Brom v Newcastle, the Baggies will have played 36 of their 46 Championship matches.

In contrast, Newcastle have only Arsenal and Palace away, before Burnley at home, before the FA Cup fifth round game.

West Brom have so far played weakened FA Cup elevens but with great success.

However, if they are a decent number of points (eight or more?) ahead of those chasing automatic promotion, then no reason why West Brom won’t go full strength, especially in front of the home fans for the first time in the FA Cup this season.

For Steve Bruce, he will no doubt be hoping that Newcastle continue to crawl to safety whilst also praying West Brom are pulled right back into simply been one of any number that could get a top two spot.

After struggling the past two rounds against League One opposition, little doubt that for Steve Bruce and NUFC, the team top of the second tier is far tougher, especially at their own stadium.

Rather bizarrely, after 25 games Newcastle find themselves playing the next four fixtures against clubs that are all no more than one point away from NUFC – Palace on 30 points, whilst Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle and Southampton are all on 31.

Southampton follows the cup match but ahead of the West Brom game, here’s hoping Newcastle can at the very least start showing some kind of a goal threat, that doesn’t rely on such high levels of luck and leaving it until the very late stages of games.

As you can see from the Championship table above, West Brom have scored more than anybody else (in the entire division) but conceded more than any other in the top five. So surely a game where Newcastle should be going on the attack.

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Interesting to see this media reaction to Oxford 2 Newcastle 3 – Deluded?


We could all enjoy Oxford 2 Newcastle 3.

An FA Cup match that was great entertainment for neutrals but which Newcastle United won, what’s not to like?

After the event you can look back and because you know the ending/result, your worries/fears when in the moment become forgotten or something to laugh about.

Newcastle dominated from the first whistle, scored on 15 and 30 minutes, making this look like a regulation win for a Premier League side over one from two divisions below.

Then of course as the second half progressed, Oxford had a go and Steve Bruce had his team attempting to defend deeper and deeper, inviting more and more pressure.

There had been warning shots fired but just when it looked NUFC had for once escaped any late scares, Oxford scored with six minutes to go, then equalised with pretty much the last kick of added time.

Extra time didn’t look a contest of two teams 40 places apart in league position, as the match could have gone either way.

Some individual brilliance from ASM the only difference between the two sides in that final half hour, producing an end product at last to his dribbling skills on the night.

I loved the fact that we had won and at last got to the fifth round and I think the player did deserve credit for the first half and then battling to the end.

However, I was surprised (although not really) at how over the top the media (especially local media) was to Tuesday’s match.

We all want the team to do well and improve but for me there was much delusion in what I was reading.

Newcastle had knocked the ball around well in the first 40 or so minutes and three very good finishes…but this was against League One opposition.

The Oxford defending was especially poor and I think against a Premier League side it is all but certain Newcastle’s goalscorers would never have had those opportunities to score.

Naive and slow, we saw this especially on Joelinton’s goal, a long ball and the Brazilian was left one on one with a lumbering Oxford defender who got in a poor position, Joelinton finished well but chances like that don’t come in the Premier League. Yet the media were claiming they had seen a new Joelinton, I saw somebody who did ok and punished poor defending, but no surprise that two of his there goals have come against League One clubs. Never mind scoring goals, he hardly ever gets into scoring positions in PL matches, though the all but non-existent service hardly helps.

The final stats saw both teams have 50% possession but Oxford with more shots (20 v 16) and corners (6 v 4).

An open game and Newcastle just came out on top in 120 minutes of football against League One opposition.

The Newcastle players should have enjoyed the more open spaces and been able to play better football, which they did for 40 or so minutes and then in small patches.

Sean Longstaff did well and so did brother Matty but to translate this to the Premier League is a massive jump.

Certainly not anything as easy as the media were claiming.

It is usually the fans who are labelled deluded but this was nothing more than Newcastle thankfully showing they are capable of doing it against lower league opposition.

This FA Cup game showed that NUFC can play well (at times) against League One opposition ( we have seen up AND downs against both Oxford and Rochdale) in over six and a half hours of football in the four games.

Oxford even sold their best two midfielders to Brentford on deadline day, just to give Newcastle an extra helping hand.

In time the Longstaffs will get better and better and that is why it is shameful that Mike Ashley has refused to give them proper contracts, both of them on a pittance that was agreed before either had made their Premier League debuts. It is also a potential massive own goal if it then forces one or both to then say they’ve (quite rightly) had enough of Ashley’s treatment of them.

Just the same as after each of the other three games against League One opposition, we will undoubtedly see Steve Bruce’s usual all out ultra defensive tactics and formation, the only tactic to make it as difficult as possible for the other team to score and for Newcastle to be as difficult to beat as possible, as Steve Bruce had admitted was the case against even bottom club Norwich at home.

We are in the FA Cup fifth round. That is it when it comes to the actual positivity to be found, apart from having watched an entertaining game of football for once.

Back to reality against Arsenal in 10 days time, even though they have won only five of 24 Premier League matches since winning at St James Park on the opening day, when they had most of their best players missing.

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Freudian slip from Steve Bruce as he looks forward to Dwight Yorke scoring goals for Newcastle United

Hopefully Dwight Yorke has kept his fitness levels up, as Steve Bruce is looking forward to him scoring the goals for Newcastle United in these remaining months of the season.

This may come as a surprise to Dwight Yorke, as it is very likely he wasn’t expecting another chance in the top flight at the age of 48…

Steve Bruce was giving his pre-Norwich press conference when making the Freudian slip (An unintentional error revealing subconscious feelings).

Naming the former Manchester United striker alongside Yoshinori Muto and Andy Carroll, as the trio of strikers he expects to be available by the time of Newcastle’s next Premier League away match at Arsenal.

This was in response to being quizzed on Friday morning at his pre-Norwich press conference about the failure to bring in any strikers/goalscorers in January.

Steve Bruce pointing to those three shortly to be returning strikers as reassurance that a new striker or two weren’t needed.

Bruce was of course meaning Dwight Gayle when Dwight Yorke popped out instead in that Freudian slip. Although there again, an easy mistake/slip to make, as 48 year old Dwight Yorke has scored as many Premier League goals this season as Gayle, Carroll and Muto combined.

Of course, the lack of goals from Newcastle United is no laughing matter, as even when you add £40m record signing Joelinton to Muto, Gayle, Carroll and…Yorke, you still only get up to a total of one Premier League goal this season.

Incredibly, also in today’s press conference, Steve Bruce claimed that Newcastle United HAD been trying to buy players and not just cheap short-term loans, going on to claim that on 23 January 2020, Newcastle had an offer accepted by another club for a midfielder that might have broken the £40m (£43m according to Mike Ashley) NUFC transfer record paid for one PL goal Joelinton. Bruce claiming they would have bought this mystery midfielder, if only the player hadn’t turned them down…

Hmmm, I’m wondering now about whether the Dwight Yorke reference was really a mistake or possibly the 48 year old is a surprise signing Steve Bruce had forgotten to mention previously, as it sounds about as likely as this breaking the transfer record signing.

Pretty amazing that Steve Bruce can claim Mike Ashley was up for spending around £40m or more on a midfielder and yet with that unspent, couldn’t then instead find a strike more likely to score goals that Muto, Gayle and Carroll.

Steve Bruce has only given Gayle and Muto two PL starts each this season and even those four appearances were pretty much all due to injuries. Whilst seeing Andy Carroll improving on his record of being able to make four starts in 28 games so far, would be amazing in itself. Never mind him forcing a keeper to make a serious save which hasn’t happened so far this season.

Steve Bruce asked on Friday morning if it was a major worry that no striker/goalscorer had been signed in January:

“I know in two weeks, probably for the Arsenal game (on Sunday 16 February), we will Andy Carroll, Dwight Yorke and Muto all available.

“I think if you look through our whole front line, we haven’t scored enough at the top end of the pitch.

“We understand that.

“But you know, that has been the case since the beginning of August.

“So you know, I don’t think there was out there, somebody who would realistically make us any better (up front).

“So if they aren’t better than what we have got, what is the point?”

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