Bruce looking for ‘one or two’ more at Newcastle while contract talks have been opened

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Steve Bruce Newcastle
Daniel Leal-Olivas
The Magpies boss is happy with the transfer business he carried out over the summer and believes only minor tweaks will be required in January

Steve Bruce believes Newcastle will only require “one or two” additions in January, with the club having spent well over the summer and opened contract talks with those they intend to keep.

The Magpies had become famed for their frugal approach to recruitment under owner Mike Ashley.

The purse strings were loosened, however, when Bruce was appointed as successor to Rafa Benitez, with a club-record deal for Joelinton forming part of an uncharacteristic spending spree.

Bruce is pleased with the business he was able to oversee and now feels that only minor tweaks will be required at St James’ Park when the next transfer window opens.

He told the Chronicle: "I think the really good thing now is to concentrate on the 25 we have got and get the best out of them so you put that away.

"It always is: how can we improve? I think that's the key. You see the difference in a [Miguel] Almiron or a Joelinton. That little bit of extra quality which comes in is hopefully what we're looking for now.

"We've got a nucleus of a very good squad. Rather than five or six, maybe it's important to go for one or two. I think that's the way forward. We've got good players here. If we can just keep adding to the quality of them, then I think that's the way forward."

Bruce is also hoping to see a number of those already on his books keep him out of the market by committing to fresh terms.

Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden and Fabian Schar are all working on terms due to expire in 2021, while Jonhjo Shelvey has admitted to now playing for his future.

Discussions have been opened with those the Magpies wish to retain, with Bruce adding: "Lee [Charnley] is talking to them.

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“Thankfully, in that respect now, I've got a CEO who's in hand with it but we're quietly confident that we're edging closer but, as usual with all these things now, they take forever.

"Back in the day, you got a pay rise done and dusted in half an hour. Now, it doesn't seem to be that way but we're quietly confident that we'll tie the ones down that we're in talks with."

Newcastle, who have taken four points from as many games in 2019-20, will return to action after the international break on Saturday with a testing trip to table-topping Liverpool.