Date: 31st July 2019 at 5:01pm
Written by: Tony O'Connell

Steve Bruce has insisted Newcastle United will not be parting company with Martin Dubravka or Ciaran Clark following speculated interest in the Toon duo, as quoted by the Chronicle.

Dubravka emerged as a surprise target for Paris Saint-Germain recently, as the Ligue 1 giant are looking for further options between the sticks given Gianluigi Buffon has returned to Juventus and Kevin Trapp is in talks with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Reports even claimed United would ask for just €10million (£9.1m) for the Slovakian international’s signature, but Bruce is determined to keep hold of the 30-year-old who has also attracted interest from Aston Villa and Manchester United.

“He’s at home,” the new Toon boss stated following Tuesday’s pre-season win over Hibernian, having left Dubravka out of the travelling side.

“It was always our aim to give the two other lads 90 minutes. Martin will be in goal on Saturday [against Saint-Etienne].

“He is our number one goalkeeper, and will remain so. The stuff that’s circulating about him is not true.

“I’m delighted that we have Dubravka. There’s nothing sinister going on at all [with his absence from the squad].”

Clark also looks set to hold a future on Tyneside, following reports Crystal Palace and Bristol City are considering bids for the rarely-seen centre-back.

It was alleged that Eagles boss Roy Hodgson sees the £35,000-a-week defender as someone who can provide depth for Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins, as he would set the Selhurst Park natives back close to £5million.

Bristol City, meanwhile, are thought to have approached United to express their interest, only to be informed that his services would cost them between £6m and £7million.

But Bruce is confident that Clark will be a part of his squad next season, having explained to the Republic of Ireland international where he fits into his plans.

“That’s not going to happen at the moment,” he added, in relation to a possible move away for Clark.

“We’re playing with three centre-backs and, with [Florian] Lejeune injured, we’ll only have four, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“I explained the situation to Ciaran and he understood that totally.”

Bruce stating that Clark will have a future at St James’ Park should have fans somewhat concerned, as it suggests the club will not be targeting any new centre-backs this summer.

A new centre-half that is able to challenge for a starting role and offer competition to the likely starters would have been a huge boost for the first-team, as Clark could not force his way into Rafa Benitez’s plans last term and likely won’t be able to under Bruce next season, either.

Any injuries to Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles or Federico Fernandez before Lejeune is back may be a much larger problem than the length of the blow alone.

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