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Bruce To Ramp Up Pursuit Of A Defender As Early Signs Reveal His Preferred Formation – Report



When Steve Bruce was first appointed as Newcastle’s head coach two summers ago, he implemented his 5-3-2 system during that pre-season. After a dreadful defeat at newly-promoted Norwich in the campaign’s second game, he turned to a 5-2-3 which he stuck with for the majority of the season.

After tinkering with the shape for much of this past campaign, the 5-3-2 returned with a bang last April. Newcastle amassed 17 points over the final nine matches to finish the season on the upswing.

According to Chris Waugh with The Athletic, the early signs this pre-season are that Bruce is sticking with the 5-3-2. This is what Waugh writes in his latest report:

The pursuit of a new, ball-playing centre-back is set to increase in intensity, with early indications from pre-season being that Bruce will stick with a similar formation to the one used during the latter part of 2020-21, meaning a three-man defence.

Newcastle are currently trying to get Joe Willock back for another loan spell and that seems to be the priority right now. Waugh expects Newcastle to intensify their search for a new ball-playing defender soon.

We’ve apparently missed out on Bruce’s preferred target Kristoffer Ajer, with newly-promoted Brentford reportedly winning the race. Another top target was Arsenal’s William Saliba, who has chosen to return to France on loan with Marseille. Though a loan deal for the Frenchman would have ruled out one for Willock.


Waugh cites Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers as a realistic target as the 23-year-old has been recommended by Graeme Jones. Recent reports have his price tag at £5m which would be a bargain.

Bruce is also monitoring the situation of Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe. Bruce signed him on loan at Aston Villa in 2018. Tuanzebe played sparingly last season and reportedly is pushing for a loan move for first-team football.

Any additions to the position could be accompanied by some departures. Bruce has a surplus of options already with seven central defenders on the books. Kelland Watts will be hoping to break into the squad this season with another season-long loan also an option.

Waugh indicates that Newcastle will listen to offers for Florian Lejeune as well as Yoshinori Muto. Lejeune escaped the injury nightmares that plagued his previous two seasons on Tyneside with a successful loan spell with Alaves. The Frenchman is entering the final year of his contract with no talks of an extension.

Newcastle have two friendlies on Sunday at York and Harrogate Town. The squad will be split with the matches both kicking off at 2PM. Despite this, Bruce should be able to go with the 5-3-2 in both matches should he wish to.

A couple of defenders are yet to return due to international duty in Emil Krafth and Fabian Schar. Bruce has Federico Fernandez, Florian Lejeune, Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, and Kelland Watts available.

He also indicated some of the U23s will be involved so we could see new signing Remi Savage or Bradley Cross come in as cover at the back. We’ll soon find out what formations Bruce is toying with as the two friendlies are just a day away. NUFC TV will stream the one at York City live.


42 comments so far

  • Wor B

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #1

    Two friendlies kicking off at the same time?

    WTF didn’t he stagger them with a few hours between?

    The players are gonna feel great at the match where the head coach chose not to watch them.

    6
  • Romford mag

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #2

    Wor

    Won’t Graeme Jones be on holiday 😉

    2
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #3

    I would guess there’ll be a stronger 1st team for the Harrogate game with Lascelles as captain.

    With a smattering of the 1st team squad for the York game and possibly Jonjo or Ritchie as captain.

    0
  • Mister Tuff

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #4

    Folk who went down to London did an excellent job – all credit to them. Some good banners and posters. Presented the message to the world.

    Not sure how you get all the news outlets to publish/report on the story.
    As DM posted earlier the Sun covered the story. Read it and it was a good report.

    Suppose some folk will not have read it because it was in the Sun.

    Main point is the Toon message has been made really public by those good souls going to London. Well done to them.

    7
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #5

    Newcastle takeover unlikely to be completed before start of Premier League season
    The St James’ Park club struggled through most of last season but questions remain over the suitability of the potential new ownership group
    Figures close to the Newcastle United takeover saga are still convinced that the Amanda Staveley-fronted and Saudi Arabian-backed bid will succeed but have largely given up hope of taking the reins at St James’ Park before the beginning of the season. Attention has switched to the closing of the transfer window on 31 August.
    The Premier League’s arbitration panel is scheduled to take place this month but the ruling body’s proceedings are conducted in private. The news that the hearing was due in July only slipped out when the president of the Competitions Appeal Tribunal, which is conducting a separate action involving the proposed buyout, revealed the information last month.
    After assessing the evidence the members of the arbitration panel can hand down their verdict quickly. In expedited arbitration – as in this case – the award can be written and issued in just two weeks. There are concerns within the Staveley camp that the judgement will take longer and even if the takeover is approved the new owners will have little or no time to add to the squad to influence the new season.
    Staveley took to the airwaves on Friday and insisted on national radio that the appetite for the buyout is as strong as ever. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) put up 80 per cent of the original £300 million bid with Staveley’s own company and the Reuben brothers each providing 10 per cent of the cash. The businesswoman said: “We are all still there, and are all still passionate about Newcastle. All consortium members are.”
    A number of the club’s fans travelled to London to protest in Parliament Square and outside the Premier League’s headquarters demanding that the process be conducted in the open. Some held up signs that said: “Public arbitration for our club.”
    Representatives of the potential buyers and those on the selling side maintain that they were initially told that there were “no red flags” about the proposed deal. That changed in June last year, when the Premier League asked for further information about Saudi involvement. At that point the consortium withdrew from the transaction but remained in the background waiting for Ashely to take legal action.
    Frustration is growing at the length of time it is taking to complete the arbitration. Richard Masters, the league’s chief executive, said in January that the dispute would be solved in “a timely manner.” Staveley was bullish then that the new owners would be in place before the coming season.
    That confidence has all but evaporated. “The uncertainty is affecting how the club is operating,” a source close to the situation said. “The delay is damaging to everyone around Newcastle. Ashley does not want to spend money on players if he is not going to be the owner. He will argue that this is damaging his business.”
    The main sticking point about Saudi involvement in English football was the hacking of BeIn Sport, the Premier League’s broadcast partner in the Gulf, by Saudi pirate TV stations. Qatar-based BeIn believed that the hijacking of their channels could not have been achieved without state support. Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a three-year blockade on Qatar that ended in December. The détente in the region is delicate but the disruption of BeIn’s signals has ended.
    Those in favour of the takeover believe there are other elements at play, too. They contend that some top-flight clubs are keen to block PIF’s entry into the English game for fear that Newcastle would spend their way to success in the style of Chelsea and Manchester City. Staveley denies that, saying that PIF – which is reportedly in the process of taking a £550 million stake in Formula One’s McLaren – intend for St James’ Park to be run as a profitable business and within the club’s means.
    “The deal was supposed to be completed more than a year ago when contracts were exchanged,” the source said. “Everything that has happened since has been anti-competitive.”

    1
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #6

    Newcastle United FC
    @NUFC
    ·
    5m
    #NUFC can confirm that Karl Darlow has received a positive Covid-19 test result during routine testing at our pre-season training camp.

    A first team squad will now face York City tomorrow while an U23 squad will travel to Harrogate Town to minimise mixing between groups.

    1
  • Ron Knee

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #7

    The Secretary of State for Health has tested positive.

    2
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #8

    Mund

    That invalidates my speculation then! 🙂

    1
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #9

    Re the games that is!

    0
  • Mister Tuff

    Jul 17, 2021 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #10

    How are these folk getting the bug- are they doing something wrong. Surely they must be. Anyone – throw light on this.

    0
  • Ron Knee

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #11

    He’s had both jabs:

    Sajid Javid@sajidjavid
    28m
    This morning I tested positive for Covid. I’m waiting for my PCR result, but thankfully I have had my jabs and symptoms are mild.

    2
  • Mister Tuff

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #12

    Good shout earlier for Thrunton Woods. Lot of MTB folk visiting there as well now. Plus a couple of fishing ponds where the brickworks used to be.

    0
  • Wor B

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:17 PM

    Comment #13

    Mrs Wor did the Yorkshire 3 peaks a few years ago as a charity fund raiser. We used the long route at Thrunton Woods many times as part of her training. The view from Long Crag and Coe Crag on that route are similar to Ros Castle, stunning on a clear day.

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #14

    Bills

    You’d be better asking yourself that question.

    3
  • Optimistic prime

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #15

    Got the metro to S Shields this morning, too hot to cycle, quicker and easier than driving and parking.

    Just got on Metro, pretty much full.

    Theres 4 people including myself with a mask on, everyone else doesn’t have one or their resting their chins in mask.

    Seems they aren’t arsed at all in S Shields judging by metros buses and shops.

    47 people on the carriage, 4 masks

    8
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #16

    23 Hours 30 Minutes to Pre-season KO.

    1
  • Optimistic prime

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #17

    Quite a lot are getting off at Bede for the match.

    Putting masks on to get off metro lol

    2
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #18

    EGB

    Can we have a countdown for the approval of the takeover please 🙂

    1
  • carltoon

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #19

    Mund! It maybe a long countdown. 🙁

    2
  • carltoon

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #20

    Or not 🙂

    0
  • Aces-of-Eights

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #21

    Mund countdown is 2 weeks.

    Like toon22 on here:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9v-33jcEDk4

    2
  • geordietom

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #22

    7 weeks 17 hours …

    1
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #23

    I’ll have a guess

    604 hrs till takeover approval 😎

    1
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #24

    Can confirm Ron’s post about the Health Secretary testing positive for Covid
    https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/health-secretary-sajid-javid-tests-positive-covid-despite-two-vaccine-doses-1108836.
    The whole state of affairs is a fiasco!
    So far as the takeover is concerned I really hope its not a fakeover as if it is the Club is doomed. ASM will definitely be off as Mash will undoubtedly cash in on him. Willock MAY come back on loan but if Arsenal wants to put in a Buy Clause of £10M its an absolute no brainer . Just the sort of deal Ashley relishes a 21 year old young England International prospect for that sort of money. Whats he going to be worth in years to come.
    Signing him would persuade ASM to stay for at least 12 months giving Mash the chance to sell the club if indeed he is serious about doing so. Masters has got his wish with the Chief arbitrator to hear the case in private (and so must have him in his pocket too). It all stinks to high heaven. Waste of time saying we are interested in this ,that and the other player because weren’t not whilst Mash is at the helm! Players like Choudhery and the lad Will Hughes from Watford who can’t hold down regular places where they are at present are just not acceptable. They are no better and probably worse than Matty Longstaff who “we” are looking to loan out. Nonsense! Why do we want any more Centre Backs with Fernandez being offered a new contract and Le Jeune back from loan we are awash with them. What with also Lascelles, Schar, Dummett, Clark, Watts and the swede as back up.
    Get real we need a good back up tried and tested striker with goals in him for Wilson AFTER we have secured Willock for another season.
    Its not rocket science. Its plain common sense!

    2
  • Optimistic prime

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #25

    Countdown for the takeover?

    Is there a long enough piece of string?

    If you’d all put a,quid in a bank account everytime it was close or things were lining up, you’d all own the club by now.

    2
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #26

    The ever optimistic Mund!! I really Hope & Pray you are right mate. What a bummer if Rafa were to “steal” ASM and take him to Everton.

    2
  • Swlabr

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #27

    OP yep, it worries the cack out of we residents of South Shields that are still wary of the plague and continue to take precautions.

    1
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #28

    WLG

    I don’t think Rafa will want Maxi, just lazy paper talk.

    As soon as Ashley sees the takeover is going in the right direction to approval and if there is time left before the end of the window I can see a few faces coming in before that window closes, with help from the consortium.

    1
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #29

    Spot on OP . Why does this sort of thing never happen to any other club but NUFC. Would never happen at Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea or any of the other “Big Six:” Man City takeover by UAE sailed through and now they can get any player they want including probably Kane and Grealish for starters and their investors don’t even own the Club nor the Ground,
    Don’t get it!

    2
  • Mister Tuff

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #31

    Good shout re Ingram Valley earlier., Just beside it is a great place for nature.
    Branton Ponds – loads of wildlife. Did it a few days ago about a mile and a half/quarter to walk around the edge of the big pond. .
    Bird hide there as well.
    Turn off from the A697 just after the garage.
    For those equipped with a motor home – a newish site of the Caravan and motor home club is there – loads of pitches, mains hook ups etc. Spotless /new toilet/shower block. you can get free associate membership.

    Just over the river a private farm has a little site which is nice – but not much in the way of facilities. So you have to be self sufficient.

    New restaurant up there as well “The Bosk” – on FB. -at Branton.

    Cannot beat our countryside especially in the summer.

    0
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #32

    Miles Starforth
    @milesstarforth
    ·
    7m
    No senior goalkeeper available for Newcastle’s first-team friendly against York tomorrow as Karl Darlow has tested positive for Covid-19. Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie self isolating for 10 days as close contacts. Martin Dubravka is injured. #nufc

    0
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #33

    Mund – ASM wont want to stay if the takeover fails so anyone with Eupopean football potential will come in and prize him away. Like us ASM is sick of the same old , same old playing for Mash’s aim 17th in the Premier League and more cash in HIS pocket. Well he must have been delighted with his Chief Clown of a Manager (The Clueless Dinosaur – Bruce) making 12th. More good fortune than good management as we all full know. Surprised he didn’t give him a sizeable bonus and a new 5 year contract. Thats what most satisfied employers do for personnel who overachieve !!!

    2
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #34

    Aces 😆

    Quality find that like

    0
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #35

    WLG

    You are 100% right, he won’t be here beyond this season if there is no takeover.

    Hopefully get Willock signed up in the coming weeks and that will put Maxi on a buzz and then get this takeover over the line and build the team around the likes of Maxi, Willock and Wilson.

    The future is brighter, we just ain’t there yet 🙂

    1
  • Aces-of-Eights

    Jul 17, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #36

    Mund no one on the blog could guess what I was on about. They’re probably fans of the Twilight movies so didnt know which classic movie I meant in Total Recall

    2
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #37

    604hrs Mund?????
    Masters will prolong this and prolong it more until after the window closes so we cant buy anyone just to punish Toon fans further.
    The man should do the honourable thing an RESIGN NOW!
    How can he stick by the “Greedy Six” after the way they wanted to defect???
    Oh sorry they fined them £25M BETWEEN Them !!! THat’ll really hurt them.
    Swlabr – I can understand your concern about the Covid delta variant rises South Shields we are going through similar here in Lancashire. Its a real worry my friend and not going to go away any time soon sadly.

    0
  • Mund

    Jul 17, 2021 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #38

    Aces

    Big fan of Arnie growing up and the old classics.

    It was annoying seeing that repetitive message but now I’ll be laughing every time from now on.

    0
  • West Lancs Geordie

    Jul 17, 2021 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #39

    Gone to do some more work in me garden in the brilliant sunshine to work off my frustrations.
    Better news on the horizon – We can but hope so!
    West Lancs Georgie of the Two Jabs

    0
  • Swlabr

    Jul 17, 2021 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #40

    WLG, damn right mate. And what’s this “Monkeypox” emerging from the shadows. Geddardahere!!

    1


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