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Newcastle United recruitment and retention has led to this shambles

10 months ago

Like everything else at St James Park, the Newcastle United recruitment of players is anything but transparent.

Who makes the decisions?

Steve Bruce has stated repeatedly that from day one he has chosen which players are signed.

The NUFC Head Coach even claiming it was his final decision which saw Newcastle pay £40m for Joelinton, only six days after Steve Bruce and his coaching team arrived, following Mike Ashley paying a reported £6.5m in compensation.

What a horrendous waste of money…and then to also spend £40m on a Brazilian striker who doesn’t even like going in the box and has scored three goals in 61 Premier League appearances…

The journalists most loyal to Steve Bruce, want you to ideally believe that the NUFC Head Coach wasn’t responsible for buying Joelinton, but was for everything after that, as it then would give him credit for Allan Saint-Maximin.

Failing that, they (loyal Brucey journalists) will say that the likes of Joelinton, Krafth and ASM were transfers already agreed, with Steve Bruce then responsible allegedly for the buy / sign British which started with Andy Carroll and then carried on through Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Mark Gillespie, Jeff Hendrick, Jamal Lewis and the loan deal for Joe Willock.

If you do believe Steve Bruce is the main man when it comes to deciding incoming transfers, it then follows that you would also then believe he also decides who stays and who goes.

So for example, Steve Bruce chose to give away DeAndre Yedlin in January for no transfer fee, despite being in the middle of a relegation fight and no replacements signed.

It also then follows that at the end of last season, it must then have been Steve Bruce who was the one deciding to keep Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle at the club, rather than let them go and save their wages as well as getting a decent transfer fee for Gayle, to then use towards bringing in another striker, or two.

The thing is, I’m really struggling to see Steve Bruce as the main man making decisions on Newcastle United recruitment and retention.

DeAndre Yedlin had become Bruce’s first choice in the Premier League starting eleven, starting five of six games from mid-December to mid-January when the club messed up on Yedlin’s visa meaning he couldn’t play for a few games. Next thing he is given away and Steve Bruce claiming it was his decision…why on earth would you do that when it only saved five months wages? It had Mike Ashley’s fingerprints all over it.

However, it is Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll that are the most puzzling.

If Steve Bruce is in charge of Newcastle United recruitment, why did he decide to keep both of them but then refuse to play them?

This season, despite Newcastle woefully short of goals, the pair of them have made 6 PL starts between them (Carroll 4, Gayle 2). Whilst in contrast, they have been named on a PL bench 40 times between the pair this season (Carroll 16, Gayle 16).

Whilst I find it extremely worrying thinking of Steve Bruce choosing who is and isn’t signed, as well as kept or let go, surely this situation is far far worse.

Clearly, to me anyway, other people made the decisions to keep Gayle and Carroll at St James Park for this season and then we have Steve Bruce refusing to play them (players that he seemingly didn’t want to keep and has no real belief in).

Andy Carroll said ahead of this season that he had never managed to get fully fit last season but that he was (fully fit) for the 2020/21 season, adding he hadn’t felt so fit for years. Having been named in 28 of the 29 PL matchday squads this season, that backs it up. However, now he is fully fit, Steve Bruce is giving Carroll far less minutes than he did last season when he was never fit! Carroll getting 618 minutes in PL games last season, 377 so far this time.

In Newcastle’s last 37 Premier League games (end of last season and whole of this one so far), Dwight Gayle has only started nine of them and yet has got five goals.

When Callum Wilson was ruled out after the Southampton match, surely this would be the time when at last Steve Bruce played at least one, if not both, of Carroll and Gayle, with Newcastle desperate for goals in Wilson’s absence.

In the six games that Wilson has missed so far, Newcastle haven’t won a single match and only three goals scored, two of them by Lascelles! The other from ASM.

For me, Dwight Gayle should have been given a run in the side as he is clearly the striker most similar to Callum Wilson, then maybe try out Carroll alongside him in a few of these matches.

Instead, Carroll hasn’t started a single game out of these six and even from the bench has has only 13 minutes and 20 seconds. Two minutes against Villa, eleven minutes at Chelsea and the very bizarre twenty seconds at West Brom.

Dwight Gayle has started only two of the six matches and in both of them has been left isolated and played in a formation that doesn’t suit him, against Chelsea and Villa.

Things reached a ridiculous level at Brighton last time out. The Seagulls going one up, two up, three up….Newcastle fans completely bewildered as Steve Bruce refused to bring on either Dwight Gayle or Andy Carroll.

In eight days time Newcastle United take on Tottenham, with Callum Wilson still unable so far to return to full training.

Even if he does manage to do so in the coming week (at the moment they are having four days off – Friday, Saturday (today), Sunday and Monday), throwing Callum Wilson straight back in for that Spurs game would be a massive risk.

Surely Gayle and / or Carroll have to feature if Newcastle United are to have a proper goal threat.

If you have a club with a respected top former manager as a Director of Football then at least it makes some sense for somebody other than the manager to have the main / final say on transfers in and out…BUT that is not the case at Newcastle United.

No wonder Rafa Benitez refused to have players imposed on him, Mike Ashley and his ‘expert’ advisors insisting Joelinton was a goalscoring striker worth every penny of £40m (Ashley says it was £43m!).

Rafa told Ashley the Brazilian was NOT the striker for Newcastle United – but if a decision was ever made to go for him, any offer should be no more than £20m at the very most, preferably far less.

There is so much wrong at the club and Newcastle United recruitment of players is just one of the many problems, though arguably the biggest.


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