With Newcastle edging toward safety, the topic of the upcoming summer transfer window was broached during Steve Bruce’s press conference for Arsenal this morning.
While Bruce was adamant that 36 points were not enough and that there is still much work to do, he admitted to feeling a lot better than just a month ago when Newcastle were really in the thick of a relegation fight.
Newcastle have been steadily linked with a few players of late, such as Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, who could be one of our top targets this summer. However, Bruce again expressed his desire to bring Joe Willock back next season.
Bruce was quick to warn that the 21-year-old is an Arsenal player and conversations were still to be had. However, Bruce did throw doubt on recent reports that Willock’s price tag had been set at £20m saying the following:
“Journalists have put the price tag. Certainly, I don’t know where the supposed £20m price tag has come from.
“I think that’s the more pressing thing is that we have to have a conversation with Arsenal, and we have to respect the fact that he’s an Arsenal player, and he’s a young player too.
“So, we don’t even know if he’s available yet. So until we have those conversations with Arsenal?
“I do know that Joe’s enjoyed it here. Why wouldn’t he? The football world is talking about him. To get three in three, and coming on as a sub has got everybody talking about Joe Willock.
“He’s done very well for us as a really young lad, we’re delighted with him.”
As Bruce stated, it’s unclear whether Willock will even be available this summer. Arsenal may very well want to keep their young midfielder at the Emirates, and who would blame them?
However, since he’s getting first-team football, it may serve both Willock and Arsenal to allow him on another season-long loan at Newcastle next year. Bruce did confirm that Willock would be starting if that were to happen:
“If we can get him for next year, he won’t be a super-sub. I think he’ll be playing.”
Another loan deal may be all that Newcastle can afford this summer as transfer funds are expected to be limited. However, the coffers may not be completely dry. Bruce was asked about how plans for this summer were shaping up.
Bruce admitted that he didn’t expect much of a transfer kitty, however, he said would do his best to squeeze every last penny out of Ashley that he could. Here are Bruce’s expectations on the upcoming window:
“I’m sure every club will be scrutinizing a Bosman, for example. They’re always attractive for obvious reasons. Look you quietly plan ahead, of course, you do.
“I think with every club, the managers that I speak to have no doubt been hit badly financially, which is understandable when you consider the past year. We’re all going to have to cut our cloth.
“That’s always difficult. I have to understand, and all the supporters will understand to, that there won’t be millions and millions and millions of pounds spent this summer.
“We’re not alone in that. Up and down the country clubs have been struggling.
“We’ll see what we’ve got. It’s my job to batter down the door and get as much as I can and see what we can do.”