Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Plates Spinning' Behind the Scenes as Magpies Gear Up for 'Difficult' Winter Window

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Plates Spinning' Behind the Scenes as Magpies Gear Up for 'Difficult' Winter Window

Article excerpt

Byline: CIARAN KELLY

AMID the hangovers and resolutions, the January transfer window will open on New Year's Day - the same day Newcastle United welcome highflying Leicester City to St James' Park. The Magpies set their stall out early when it came to making the most of the current squad, with a number of players due to return from injury.

Newcastle are open to taking a closer look if the right opportunity presents itself, but Steve Bruce has stressed it is difficult to sign the right player mid-season because clubs are particularly keen to hold on to their prized assets as there is so little time to replace them.

That stance has been repeated time and time again by Bruce in the last six weeks but, while discussing the window for the last time in 2019, the Newcastle head coach did not shut down the possibility of doing business.

"There's a few plates spinning - that's about it at the minute - but we'll see," he told reporters after the 2-1 defeat against Everton.

"I keep saying it: if there's somebody out there that can make us better... and I'm sure that goes for most clubs. That's why January is difficult. I won't act unless it's going to improve the team."

Sometimes, it is easy to read too much into a head coach's words but Bruce had previously stuck to a slightly different response when it came to January.

Newcastle having a 'few plates spinning' behind the scenes is hardly a surprise - scouts have been particularly busy in recent months - but this was the first time Bruce had publicly admitted it.

The mid-season window, of course, is one of only two opportunities each year where the 58-year-old can make tweaks to the team. Given how he was only appointed little more than three weeks before the summer transfer window closed earlier this year, the 2020 windows are particularly significant for Bruce.

The Newcastle head coach, after all, wants honest, physical players who are willing to cover the hard yards for their team-mates and two or three things are already in place for the summer. …

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