Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce will never be satisfied with his squad as he pushes owner Mike Ashley for more.
The 60-year-old Magpies boss was left frustrated as the summer transfer window closed with midfielder Joe Willock’s permanent capture after a hugely successfully loan spell last season the only addition to his senior squad.
Ashley agreed to part with £25million to lure Willock to St James’ Park from Arsenal – and in a break with club policy, struck an instalment-based deal with the Gunners – and that proved to be Bruce’s lot as he attempted in vain to land a series of loan signings as the deadline approached.
Asked if there had been a misunderstanding after the club issued a statement insisting “all parties have long been aware of the budgetary parameters under which we are operating”, he replied: “Look, my job is to always try to improve the squad and never be satisfied, never.
“I thought a couple of additions to the squad on loan would help us enormously. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to do that. To enable us to do it, it wasn’t just the money side of securing a loan.
“To bring in two in particular, we would have to make room and we were unable to trade as well. I was hoping that we could trade a couple to bring in a couple, and unfortunately that didn’t work and didn’t happen, so frustrating, but that’s the stance and I knew what the stance of the club was.
“The statement has made it pretty obvious what it is, so I have to accept it and move on.”
While Willock’s arrival boosts Bruce’s squad in terms of quality, the departures of Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Henri Saivet, Andy Carroll and Yoshinori Muto and Matty Longstaff’s loan move to Aberdeen – only Carroll was a regular member of the matchday squad last season – have significantly reduced the numbers on the pay roll.
However, Bruce’s hopes of plugging some of the gaps with loan acquisitions – Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury was at the head of his list – came to nothing.
That means the former Manchester United defender will return to his old club on Saturday as they welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo without the new recruits for which he had hoped as well as injured duo Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser. But he will have Paraguay international Miguel Almiron at his disposal after the threat of a FIFA ban over his non-appearance for his country receded.