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Opinion

Paul Merson comments on Bruno Guimaraes and Steve Bruce revisited

4 months ago
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Back in early February, Paul Merson had plenty to say about Bruno Guimaraes.

The Newcastle United transfer window had seen five signings, a loan deal for Matt Targett and permanent moves for Dan Burn, Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier, as well as the new club record deal (over £41m including add-ons) for the 24 year old Brazilian.

Paul Merson had this to say about Bruno Guimaraes after the transfer window closed and before he’d even seen him play for Newcastle United (or for anybody else, after all, being an ‘expert’ football pundit in the UK doesn’t include any expectation that they know absolutely anything at all, about any player outside the Premier League).

 Paul Merson on Bruno Guimaraes – 8 February 2022:

“Bruno Guimaraes, who knows?

“He’s never played in the Premier League before and he could be an absolute gem of a player and we’ll sit back and think what a result Newcastle had in getting him.

“We’ll be left asking why didn’t any of the big boys go for him.

“Or they could go down and we’ll be saying they needed to get someone who was ready-made for the Premier League.

“And that’s why we’ll only know if this window was a success over time and if they stay up.

“I just don’t think they are a shoo-in to stay up.

“When you’ve spent all the money they have, I’d expect them to be a definite to stay up, but I just don’t see that.”

Honestly, if Arsenal had signed Bruno Guimaraes, Merson would have been calling it an undoubtedly brilliant signing.

He has been playing in Europe the past three seasons, not a weak South American league where the style and level of play is very different. Plus, when you are bringing in four tried and tested readymade Premier League players with so many PL games behind them, when you make a 24 year old Brazil international midfielder your other signing, with fantastic stats this season and previous, just how much of a risk is it compared to bringing in say somebody from another PL club who hasn’t been getting regular, if any, football?

After watching Bruno Guimaraes get his longest spell so far off the bench in the win at Brentford, Paul Merson now had this to say to Sky Sports on the Brazilian:

“He looks a player.

“When you watch players play, you can see the ones who can play and he does look the part.

“He did one piece of magic, got the ball, opened it up and tried to bend it in the far corner and it went wide.”

The thing is, Paul Merson should have been a lot more aware of Bruno Guimaraes, he wasn’t exactly an unknown, at the very top end of midfielder stats in Ligue 1 and already with a handful of caps for Brazil.

What we saw at Brentford on Saturday was very much what we’d anticipated as Newcastle fans, a quality midfielder who glided around the pitch, very good on the ball, never losing it, always wanting possession and looks a real athlete as well.

Also worth once more looking at a bit more of what Paul Merson had to say about Newcastle’s transfer business after the window ended…

‘All I can say is that if Steve Bruce had bought in all these players there would have been uproar and I think that tells you everything you need to know. I still think the jury is out on the business they did in January. It’s safe. It doesn’t really excite me.

They have got solid players in, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see 18 0-0 draws keeping you up. It may be enough, but I’m just not convinced.”

Well, inadvertently, Paul Merson has got something right…a bit like a broken clock he has to be right sometime.

There have been zeros in the Newcastle United scorelines since January signings started playing.

Three clean sheets for Martin Dubravka and only three goals conceded in the trio of other games. However, with new signings in the team, Eddie Howe’s side haven’t failed to score in any Premier League match, scoring nine goals with four wins and two draws, 14 points from a possible 18, taking Newcastle United from deep in relegation trouble to fourteenth in the table.

As for Steve Bruce.

There may well be uproar BUT that is now from West Brom fans who are now comprehending just what a disaster has landed on their club.

West Brom were fifth in the table and heading towards the play-offs, the supporters though not happy with manager Valerien Ismael and forcing him out. In comes Steve Bruce and the massive ranks of empty seats last night at The Hawthorns were testament to the job Brucey has done already.

After losing 2-0 at home to Swansea, Bruce now has overseen a drop from fifth in the table to thirteenth, only one goal scored in eight hours of football, only one point from a possible fifteen. Needless to say, all of Bruce’s journalist and pundit mates are saying absolutely nothing! Whereas if the Baggies had won a few games, they would have been all over it / him.

It is now ten months since Steve Bruce managed a team that won a game of football. His record at Newcastle and West Brom now reading played 14 won 0 drawn 4 lost 10, since May 2021.

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