Winning the fans over will be tough for Steve Bruce, as will keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League. However, as far as the toughest challenge for the local boy St. James’ Park gaffer, neither of these are it. Indeed, the toughest challenge for the ex-Sunderland man lies in reviving a lethargic squad in the Northeast.
To Bruce’s credit, he’s started to do that it seems. There was little that could be done to prevent the exit of Ayoze Perez to Leicester City (BBC), but seeing off Joeselu to Alaves (NUFC.co.uk) is certainly a step in the right direction for the club.
More work certainly needs to be done, though. The likes of Jacob Murphy, Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar have been loaned out this summer, but it doesn’t look like any of that trio have a future at St. James’ Park, then there’s the likes of Ciaran Clark, Jack Colback, Henri Saivet and Dwight Gayle who will certainly be on their way out soon.
That makes seven players who are on senior wages at the club who have little part to play going forward, and whilst money is always such a heavy talking point amongst the Magpies given who their owner happens to be, freeing up the wages of seven seniors will be massive for Steve Bruce.
To get seven out, you’d almost certainly need to bring in some fresh faces. Aside from those seven, there are also those who the fans would probably be quite keen to move on if the club are to progress anytime soon as well. From the first few games under Bruce, it seems he knows roughly what his strongest side looks like, and now it’s about adding to it.
Whether or not Bruce is able to get rid of some of his deadwood over the coming windows is yet to be seen. The Magpies will have to wait until at least January to see if any other players can be shipped out, but unless Bruce can get a handle on his squad then he’s going to struggle in the Northeast.