Despite the fact that owner Mike Ashley reportedly remains committed to pushing the club’s takeover through, he is believed to have allowed Bruce to begin work on strengthening the squad ahead of the 2021/22 campaign. Indeed, the Toon boss is said to be eager to bring in one or two new faces before pre-season starts, with last season’s loan star Joe Willock understood to be a target, along with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer.
Where do Newcastle need to strengthen most?
Without Willock, it’s a wonder where Newcastle might have ended up last season.
The Arsenal loanee’s eight goals in fourteen games helped Bruce turn the tide in the relegation battle after an utterly awful run of form and, prior to his arrival, the lack of dynamism in midfield was slated.
Even aside from his goals, only Isaac Hayden averaged more in the way of tackles per game (via WhoScored), only highlighting what an impact he had.
So, should Willock prove too expensive this summer, it seems reasonable to prioritise the signing of a new box-to-box-midfielder. That’s not to suggest other areas don’t need strengthening but, given the financial constraints the club are reportedly likely to operate with, it looks like the most pressing issue.
How much money will Newcastle have to spend this summer?
Football Insider recently claimed Newcastle would likely only have a transfer budget of around £8-£12m if Ashley was to remain the club’s owner. Alarmingly, both The Athletic and The Chronicle have suggested Bruce would be forced into looking into the loan and free-agent markets too, so it certainly looks to be a difficult few months ahead.
Sadly, outside of player sales, Bruce and his team will have to be creative if they want to seriously improve the squad ahead of next year.