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Opinion

Steve Bruce can’t allow either of these 2 Newcastle players to leave this transfer window

4 weeks ago
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Yes, the transfer window still has time left, but frankly other than one or two players – and not the ones that most fans and the local papers are talking about – I do not see a reason why Newcastle United should be looking to send out players, especially under current management.

Are there players that have had their levels of play drop over the past year-plus? Undoubtedly.

And even beyond that, nobody sees a way back for Rolando Aarons, Achraf Lazaar and Henri Saivet, so other than them accepting a buyout to become free agents, the only question is what time they have training with the reserves.

There are two players that would be able to get a little bit of money on the open market, in my opinion: Jacob Murphy and Christian Atsu. There makes no sense to keep either around – if somehow the two are sold to generate around £10m, that is a good bit of business. More likely, I would foresee loans akin to Florian Lejeune and Yoshinori Muto in Spain.

The two other players that often are rumoured on their way out are Fabian Schar and DeAndre Yedlin and frankly, I cannot be a fan of the idea of either leaving the club. Have both of them suffered dips in form under Steve Bruce? Absolutely. Could both of them be right back into the line-up in quick fashion? One hundred per cent and Bruce is the reason why.

One of the most laughable things I have seen from the manager recently is when, regarding Yedlin’s future, he mentioned that having three right-backs is too much. In this season between Cup games on compressed schedules and the risks of players contracting COVID-19, it is all but mandatory to have three people ready to play each position. Hell, all three right-backs have already played and we’re less than a month into the season! Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo and Yedlin even all played in the same defence in one of the Cup games! When your starting right-back is also the back-up left-back and another right-back has already been needed in the central defence because those two positions are already stretched to the limit, then you must keep all three.

After all the things that fans have as misgivings about Steve Bruce since his hiring a year ago, my particular annoyance comes at his inability to:

(A) rotate properly the squad even in the best of circumstances and

(B) moan about the injuries that inevitably come when players are overworked.

One of the hallmarks of a Bruce-led Newcastle has been coming up with points in league games through extraordinary circumstances; the other has been never rotating players to the extent needed. While many would consider the number of points earned last season to be a miracle, I would consider the bigger miracle the fact that neither Allan Saint-Maximin or Miguel Almiron’s hamstrings did not explode given their workload during Project Restart.

The 25 man senior NUFC Premier League squad, in my mind, is fairly straightforward especially since Matty Longstaff does not count a the 25, being under 21;

Dubravka, Darlow and Gillespie;

Manquillo, Kraft, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Dummett, Lewis;

Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Hendrick, Hayden;

Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Fraser, Ritchie and Joelinton;

Wilson, Carroll and Gayle, although the long-term nature of Gayle’s injury would leave him in doubt until mid-season.

That leaves one spot left — maybe for the new signing out of Peru if he meets the standard, maybe a surprise signing or incoming loan in the remaining days of this transfer window (closes Monday 5 October).

It leaves you with three options at both RB and LB (in Lewis, Dummett and Manquillo), seven players that could be at centre-back over the course of the season and five central midfield options, and eight attackers (some of them charitably called as such). There’s enough versatility to play multiple formations.

And maybe, unlike the first few games this season, a formation and line-up will surprise us all and average more than one shot on goal per league game.

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