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Steve Bruce says problem was too many quality players to fit into Newcastle United squad

4 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce has been talking about his Newcastle United squad.

The head coach reflecting on the decisions he had to make two weeks ago.

After the summer 2019 transfer window closed, an official NUFC 25 man (3 goalkeepers, 22 outfield players) senior squad had to be named, these the only players (as well as under 21s) allowed to play in the Premier League until changes can be made in January, when the next window opens.

Steve Bruce has said that the big problem was that there were so many quality players to choose from, it was such a difficult choice.

Fair to say that the vast majority of Newcastle United fans didn’t see this as one of the biggest problems facing the club this summer, indeed, supporters not seeing any kind of issue whereby there were too many good players to choose from.

The reality is that Newcastle haven’t got anything like enough players who are good enough to be playing regularly in the Premier League, or indeed even as cover in a fair number of cases.

Major surgery was needed on the NUFC squad this summer after two years where proper investment hasn’t been allowed and supporters are every much unconvinced that anything like enough has been done.

Steve Bruce talking to the Chronicle:

“Rolando (Aarons) and (Achraf) Lazaar, Jack Colback, all of them were difficult (to leave out of the 25 man Newcastle United Premier League squad), two of them played for me last year.

“You have to pick your squad, it’s just 22 outfield players. We signed two players really late in the window so their opportunity was still there until the last embers of the window…it was disappointing for them.”

This raises all kinds of questions.

The first and most obvious one is who, apart from Steve Bruce, thinks that Jack Colback, Achraf Lazaar and Rolando Aarons would have been of any use to Newcastle United in the Premier League.

They aren’t Premier League players and the team would have to have been in a right state (if it isn’t already…) for Steve Bruce to be calling on this trio.

It kind of sums up everything that is wrong at Newcastle United.

A club run on such stupid lines with no proper professional management team in place, given the the backing and freedom to get on with running the club properly.

The only big problem with Aarons, Colback and Lazaar (and Saivet and Sterry, plus a good few others), is that decisive action wasn’t taken early this summer to do deals with them (the players) and potential new clubs, to get them somewhere more appropriate where they can play regular football and Newcastle could move them out and off the books/wage bill.

The players not good enough for the Premier League needed to be moved out, to get a few quid in transfer fees and cut in the wage bill, to free up space at the club and help finance players who are good enough, to come in.

Yet again though, we have this terrible combination of Mike Ashley’s malevolence and incompetence.

Those three players Steve Bruce mentions, were all playing in the Championship on loan last season. That is their level.

However, instead of getting them off permanently to Championship clubs this summer, the transfer deadline was allowed to pass (Championship is same as Premier League) and Newcastle are still paying these players who can’t even play in the league and who they are struggling to find a club for.

The options are now League One and Two, Scotland and other low level leagues/clubs abroad, all of them with far less financial muscle than clubs in the Championship.

I have no doubt that given the chance, Rafa Benitez would have had a major cull this summer if staying at NUFC, moving on at least another half dozen of the first team squad, as well as the likes of Saivet, Sterry, Aarons, Colback and Lazaar. The past two seasons had made it all but impossible to do so due to the refusal of Mike Ashley to allow proper investment in the squad.

The aim of every club each summer is to clear out those players who aren’t good enough and to bring in players who are as good or better than the top players already in your squad.

Mike Ashley has failed abysmally in moving out the players who weren’t good enough and now we are just left hoping that the new signings will rapidly improve on what we have seen so far.

What a mess.

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