Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

Steve Bruce 'in the dark' about proposed Saudi takeover of Newcastle United

Magpies manager says he would like to stay on if new owners come in but admits that 'people are hovering over my job'

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce admits that he is "in the dark" about a proposed Saudi-backed takeover of the Premier League club but would hope to stay on under any new owners.

Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, who took Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, and ex-Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino are seen as contenders for the job if a deal goes through.

A group with an expected 80 per cent investment from Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF have made a reported £300 million (Dh1.36 billion) bid to buy United from British businessman Mike Ashley.

"I have a wonderful working relationship with [Newcastle managing director] Lee Charnley and he told me, 'when there's something to tell you, Steve, I'll tell you'," Bruce told Sky Sports television on Thursday.

"We've left it at that and gone back to work. I'm in the dark like most other people, and for that, I'm glad, really, because I can't comment on it."

Bruce, who arrived in July 2019 after Benitez failed to agree a contract extension with Ashley, said he would like to see Newcastle given the resources to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

He would also love to be part of it.

"To be in a position where you're actually challenging, and you have a good enough team as Newcastle did in 1995 and under Sir Bobby Robson as well, then it would be wonderful," said Bruce. "I'd back myself, of course I would.

"Whether you're managing in the lower division or you're right at the top, it's about getting the best out of what you've got. And if you can do that, I'd back myself to have a crack at it. I'd be confident that I'd be able to do it."

In an interview with Tyneside newspaper The Chronicle, Bruce reiterated how little he knew about the deal, but admitted that he was "aware of all people are hovering over my job".

"I haven't got any answers. All I have done is read about it in the Press," he said.

"In the meantime as I have said many times – whatever is best for Newcastle United then that's OK with me. That's all I want.

"If it goes through, let's see what happens after that. I am aware of all the speculation going on and people are hovering over my job, but I get on with it until I know different. That has always been the case with me.

"Of course, there's also been nothing else to write about. What can I do?

"The reason I can't say anything on it is, you [the media] probably know more than me. In that respect – great – because then I can't have any other ideas out there.

"As I say, whatever is best for Newcastle United is the best for me."

Newcastle are currently13th in the league with matches suspended and are due to face Manchester City in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.

Bruce was relieved that 40 Newcastle personnel tested negative for Covid-19 before the return to physically distanced training on Tuesday. On Thursday, they were re-tested in line with the Premier League’s Project Restart protocols.

“We’re all together here – and all 40 of us have tested negative,” said Bruce. “We hope that’s the case today.”

Updated: May 21, 2020 07:36 PM

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