Newcastle United journalist Liam Kennedy has given his view on Steve Bruce and how the club’s transfer strategy changed following the signing of Joe Willock earlier in the transfer window.
The 22-year-old was the only senior player that the club signed this summer, although the club did reportedly have a number of other targets in mind, with Bruce was quoted as saying last week that he had ‘four or five’ players that he wanted to bring in on loan before the window shut earlier this week.
One of those players, for instance, that could have made the move to St. James’ Park was Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury, however, that move broke down late in the day, with reports suggesting the club couldn’t make the deal work financially.
Kennedy spoke about the club’s finances on the latest edition of NUFC Matters, and explained how the deal to sign Willock dictated a lot of how the club operated and how it potentially changed the whole transfer strategy:
“If he’d known that was going to be his full budget – which he did – could he have maybe decided ‘you know what, I can’t do this, I can’t do Joe Willock on a permanent deal. I’m gonna have to do some wheeling and dealing’.
“Because there are a lot of managers out there who would have cut their losses with that deal.
“But what I’m saying is, he knew when that deal got done that it would probably be the end, because it was the budget that he’d been spoken to about. And that was what blew it, they weren’t expecting to have to pay for him and that kind of figure upfront. And they did.”
TIF Thoughts on Liam Kennedy’s comments about Steve Bruce and Joe Willock at Newcastle United…
Who got the better end of the Joe Willock deal?
If this was the case, then Newcastle United were effectively putting all of their eggs into one basket and hoping that Willock would be the saviour for them this season.
And whilst that faith isn’t totally misguided after the form he showed at the end of last season, it is still a rather risky strategy to take, in essentially going for quality over quantity when they could perhaps have brought Willock back on loan again and used the leftover money to bring in another such as Choudhury, for example.
We won’t really know if this was the right strategy to take until much further down the road, and if Willock is able to replicate his form, then Newcastle should give themselves a fighting chance to push away from the bottom of the table this season.
But if Newcastle find themselves going through a spell where they are down a few players through either injury or suspension, then they might come to regret spending all of their money on one player, when it perhaps could have been better used being spread out amongst the squad and bringing in multiple players.