Steve Bruce insists it was he who decided to buy Joelinton 14 months ago
A lot of people are looking on with interest to see what Steve Bruce does with Joelinton this season.
The disastrous £40m+ signing played in every single one Newcastle’s 38 Premier League matches last season, plus all six FA Cup games.
The Brazilian playing more games than any other Newcastle player last season, despite arriving less than three weeks before the start of last season and having to get used to a new club, league, city, language etc.
Featuring in every single Premier League match also happened despite the striker getting increasingly worse over the course of the season and having 10 months between his first and last (second) PL goals of the season.
Many Newcastle fans believing that the only explanation for Steve Bruce bizarrely continuing to select Joelinton, was due to orders from Mike Ashley.
However, when Steve Bruce took over in July 2019 as Head Coach, he insisted (see below) that there was absolutely no way he would have taken the Newcastle job, unless he had the final say on transfers.
Then despite Mike Ashley admitting in some detail in late July 2019 how he had forced Rafa Benitez out of Newcastle so that he could push through the Joelinton £40m+ transfer, after the Brazilian signed, Steve Bruce again insisted that he was in charge of transfers and that it was he who had decided to sign the player from Hoffenheim.
A number of times since, Steve Bruce has repeatedly insisted that it is he who chooses the players, even though he also admitted later that Newcastle had paid £40m+ for a centre-forward who wasn’t even a centre-forward and not a natural goalscorer.
Now he has returned to the subject of transfers and once again insisted that it is he who decides which players come in, though relying on other people to help suggest targets.
Steve Bruce says that it was a ‘smart move’ not to sign players in January 2020 as that has allowed Newcastle to bring in Wilson, Lewis and Fraser with that money.
However, it was Steve Bruce who admitted back on 31 January 2020 that Newcastle had bid up to around £40m for Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare:
“We were close but couldn’t get it over the line.
“We had a bid accepted by the club but the player wanted to stay where he was. A big disappointment, he was a midfielder and our number one target.”
“A bid which would nearly have got us to our record transfer (Joelinton).
“Eight days ago (23 January) we had it accepted by the club, unfortunately the player wanted to stay (where he is).
“So you know, we were active. We were really really active. It didn’t quite happen. So, we will just have to wait and see what we can do in the summer…”
A recent report in The Athletic said that a club source had stated that there would have been zero transfer budget made available by Mike Ashley this summer, if Boubakary Soumare had signed in January.
A bit laughable that Steve Bruce now makes out that it was his / Newcastle’s decision not to spend the money in January 2020, when it was actually only because Soumare knocked them back, that there was any money to spend this window.
Steve Bruce talking about his role in signing players – 20 July 2019:
“Recruitment…yes that has insulted me, the things that have been said.
“Let me tell you, if I thought I couldn’t have control of transfers, then of course, I wouldn’t be doing it [Newcastle job].
“I would not do it at all.
“You have to have a team of people behind you who give you the list of names but I have the final say.
“You have to rely on your recruitment team and I have always done that, but you have to have the final say on who you are going to bring in.”
Steve Bruce talking about his role in signing players – 18 September 2020:
“I was always consulted on the players that we brought in [from arriving in July 2019].
“I [then] worked with Steve Nickson on what we did in January and I thought our work in January was excellent with the loan players [Rose, Bentaleb and Lazaro].
“We didn’t spend money in January, which enabled us to keep hold of it, make sure that we could get the players that we wanted to get in this summer.
“I think that was a smart move but I’ve worked tirelessly alongside Steve [Nickson], Lee Charnley and the scouting department.
“It is impossible for me to see every single player but we all thought that with the short pre-season, the build-up not being long, to get people settled into a new environment, let’s go for a little bit of tried and tested.
“It was difficult coming through the door 12 months ago.
“The work we have done in the transfer market has given everyone a lift, you reporters now see a group of players where you think Newcastle have a half decent squad, you need a bit of help and thankfully I received that help last week, in what we did in the transfer market.
“I think the addition of the five players has given everyone a lift at just the right time and the timing of it, a week before the season started, was perfect.”
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