Phil Thompson shared his theory on why Newcastle United had actually spent a notable figure on signing players this summer and his remarks carry a worrying implication if you’re Steve Bruce.
The Magpies welcomed seven new players to St James Park, as per Sky Sports, in the summer and even broke their transfer record by spending £40million on signing Joelinton from Hoffenheim (Source: BBC).
This is drastically more business than they did under Rafa Benitez in the last summer window, where there were four major players arrivals with the highest fee being the £9.5million paid for Yoshinori Muto. (Source: Sky Sports)
Thompson shared that Newcastle knew they didn’t have to spend big on transfers under Benitez as he was so organised that he could steer the club clear of relegation, regardless of whether new players came through the door.
“No (not relegated) I think they will be fine,” said Thompson on Sky Sports News (13:17, Saturday, August 10th).
“It’s a big blow to them (losing Benitez) and the fans absolutely loved the guy and Ashley has loosened the purse strings by the looks of it and helped Brucie out, but Rafa was always that good and I think he was always part of the problem, because they knew they didn’t have to spend with Rafa because they were organised.
“Even if they were caught adrift at the bottom, he’d be alright, Rafa will get them together and make sure they get everyone behind the ball, work hard, make sure they nick the goals, nick the games to make sure that they do.
“So maybe they’ve had a look now and thought oh Rafa Benitez has gone, gotta give this new manager a little bit of help, got to give him some money, got to sign some new players to change things.
“So it seems, was it they didn’t trust Rafa or was Rafa knocking these players back and he didn’t really want them or was it the other way round? It looks as if it is the other way round now as in it’s we now need players, we have to help the new manager out more than Rafa Benitez.”
Thompson’s theory is an interesting one but surely carries a worrying implication for Bruce as he implies that Newcastle United chiefs have less faith in his ability than they did in Benitez.
While this is a believable and probably expected opinion, Benitez did win the Champions League ahead of arriving at St James Park whereas Bruce has never been in that competition let alone won it, it doesn’t exactly sound good for Bruce’s job security.
If the powers that be at Newcastle, including Magpies owner Mike Ashley, already view Bruce as a step-down, what’s to stop them pushing Bruce out the door if results don’t come thick and fast?
Or what stops them trading Bruce in for a better manager who wants to take over Newcastle once one becomes available?
While Bruce is no doubt jumping for joy over Magpies chiefs trying to make his job easier by having spent big in the summer, it seems that maybe it’s not the biggest sign of faith that it previously looked like after Thompson’s theory.