Steve Bruce is facing the unenviable task of trimming his squad before the window closes in early October. He’s added five new faces but the focus now shifts to finding homes for a handful of players.
Florian Lejeune was the first to leave. He will spend this season at Alaves on loan and come back next summer to see where he stands. While the Frenchman may still have a future on Tyneside, that’s likely not the case for the others who will not make the squad this season.
According to Scott Wilson in The Northern Echo, both Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar were offered payouts to end their time on Tyneside but both rejected the terms offered. They both were not among the 32 players handed squad numbers last week.
Bruce has also publicly proclaimed that both Henri Saivet and Yoshinori Muto will not be part of his squad this season. There was a report yesterday that Muto was drawing interest from La Liga’s Eibar.
Muto, like Lejeune, still has another two years to run on his contract. However, Aarons, Lazaar, and Saivet are in the final year of their deals. So a permanent move away for the trio would be the best option for Newcastle.
That’s easier said than done as was found out last season when Newcastle were forced to hold on to a few players who didn’t make the final squad. The club will have to make sure that’s not the case this season.
Some other candidates for moves away are DeAndre Yedlin, Jacob Murphy, and Dan Barlaser, all in the final year of their deals. Murphy has received interest from Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest for loan spells while Rotherham coach Paul Warne would jump at the chance to bring Barlaser back.
In Wilson’s report, he says that Murphy has an outside chance at making the squad but Bruce is open to offers for both him and Barlaser. It’s a shame for Dan Barlaser, as he looked good in pre-season but it doesn’t look like he going to get his chance at Newcastle.
Twenty-eight outfield players were handed squad numbers however only twenty-two will make the final cut. Of those, Matty Longstaff will not count towards a place. Bruce also wants to leave a space open for another addition according to Wilson.
So Bruce has his work cut out for him in getting this squad dwindled down to size. He’s done the job in improving the team as we witnessed at the London Stadium on Saturday. Now Newcastle must cut this wage bill before the window closes on October 5th.