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Opinion

Steve Bruce allowed £100m net spend to produce better Newcastle United reserve team

3 weeks ago
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In the fourteen and a half months he has been at St James Park, Mike Ashley has (so far) allowed Steve Bruce a £100m net spend.

As well as free transfer signings such as Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick, Andy Carroll and Mark Gillespie, a total of £100m spent on transfer fees for other signings such as Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamal Lewis, Joelinton, Emil Krafth and Callum Wilson.

Quite amazing really, compared to how Mike Ashley treated Rafa Benitez, especially when as I say, this is also a £100m net spend, as Ashley hasn’t forced Bruce to sell players, in order to help finance the signings.

So what has he (Steve Bruce) got for his money?

What can we say about the team / squad / club now, after this £100m net spend?

Well, I would like you to look at these two Newcastle United sides this season:

The Newcastle team v West Ham (and Brighton):

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Lewis, Shelvey, Hayden, Hendrick, Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Carroll

The Newcastle team v Blackburn:

Gillespie, Manquillo, Krafth, Clark, Yedlin, Ritchie, Barlaser, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Fraser, Joelinton

So Steve Bruce starting the season with that first team above, as well as the same eleven starting in the second PL match, so safe to say that this is pretty much his first choice team, give or take the odd injured player such as Martin Dubravka.

To be honest, I don’t think actually any of the other injured players at the start of the season – Gayle, Clark, Matty Longstaff, Schar and Dummett – would have got into that opening day eleven against the Hammers. So only Martin Dubravka guaranteed to have changed that Steve Bruce first choice selection.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at the two teams above, I’m not convinced who would win between the two sides.

Even more so when you then add the likes of Dubravka, Schar, Dummett, Clark and Gayle into the mix if fit.

What it suggests to me is that with a £100m net spend, Steve Bruce has simply achieved a better NUFC reserve team.

I don’t see that the first eleven has been massively improved.

The Newcastle United squad still lacking much / any real quality and instead just a significant increase in the number of poor to average to decent players at the club.

Newcastle United able to put out two completely different elevens but next to no difference in the quality.

It doesn’t exactly suggest immense improvement, especially when so many of the signings made are older players, rather than ones who could improve massively at St James Park.

Steve Bruce has claimed he has shown his commitment to the cup competitions with his team selections in the Carabao Cup…but is this really true?

Making 10 changes for the team to play Blackburn and nine for the Morecambe one, is that really playing close to your strongest possible team?

Instead, surely the only reason Steve Bruce can claim he is playing stronger teams in cup competitions compared to his predecessors, is because the £100m net spend has improved the Newcastle United reserves / second eleven team.

With Bruce carrying such luck in the draws, his second eleven almost completely changed team should have been more than enough to beat a weakened Championship Blackburn at home and League Two Morecambe (and Newport hopefully!) away.

However, reality tells us that once hitting any decent Premier League club in a cup draw, Steve Bruce will once again throw in the towel as he did (making seven changes) against Leicester and Man City, where he bizarrely prioritised the meaningless Premier League matches ahead of that City match.

Will this season be any different if Newcastle overcome Newport and then face a Premier League club?

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