Does Steve Bruce’s ‘I don’t think we are weaker’ comment reflect Newcastle United’s current squad depth?

Is Newcastle United’s squad any stronger, the same or weaker than it was last season? Fans are entrenched in one camp, with head coach Steve Bruce in the other. Here’s a look at what’s been said on the issue and the facts behind the comments.

Is Newcastle United’s squad weaker, the same or stronger than last season? The ins and outs

One thing that is for certain, it’s impossible to argue things look in better shape in terms of the squad.

Bruce is weighing up whether to use four goalkeepers in his 25-man Premier League group - and the club have also lost Andy Carroll from their ranks.

Exits for the likes of Christian Atsu, Florian Lejeune and Yoshinori Muto have done little to damage depth.

The re-signing of Joe Willock has been a welcome boost, but looks to have come at the expense of any further permanent incomings.

Who is in Newcastle’s current first-team squad?

Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow, Mark Gillespie, Freddie Woodman; Jacob Murphy, Javier Manquillo; Jamal Lewis, Matt Ritchie; Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez, Emil Krafth, Paul Dummett; Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick, Miguel Almiron, Ryan Fraser, Joe Willock; Callum Wilson, Joelinton, Dwight Gayle, Allan Saint-Maximin.

TOTAL = 26*

*Clubs have to name a 25-man Premier League squad after the close of the summer transfer window.

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United greets Dean Smith, Manager of Aston Villa prior to the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on August 21, 2021 in Birmingham, England.

Does Steve Bruce think Newcastle’s squad is weaker than it was last season?

Bruce: “I don’t know, is it weaker? It is the same.

“I don’t think we are any weaker. It is fair to say we have gone with the same squad we finished last season with, which we finished really strongly.

“We went all out to get Joe Willock. So that’s where we are at the moment. Would love to bring some more in, but we simply can’t.

“We have to get on with it. And hope we are strong enough to better what we did last year.”

What fans are saying on the subject?

“Not even factually correct. Looks like his idea is to replace Andy Carroll’s place in our wafer thin attacking ranks is to add an injured goalkeeper to the squad…”

“When others strengthen and we stay the same, it is weaker.”

“So the same is absolutely fine then, you’re meant to improve year on year.”

“Sold a centre back and a striker, let another striker go, several players have left after contracts expired, and you let Watts etc. go out on loan. All replaced by... Joe Willock. Of course it’s weaker!”

What next for the Magpies?

The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Tuesday, August 31.

And, according to Bruce, unless the Magpies can trim some players from their ranks it is unlikely any loan deals will be completed by United.

Matty Longstaff is set to exit in the coming days but that would only cut United down to the required 25, unless they dropped one of the four keepers they’re looking to name.