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Bruce knows more signings like Saint-Maximin and Almiron are vital for Newcastle

AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United – Premier League – Vitality Stadium
(Image credit: Glyn Kirk/NMC Pool)

Steve Bruce believes more signings like Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron will help Newcastle close the gap to the Premier League’s elite.

The Magpies invested what is starting to look like a bargain £16million in French winger Saint-Maximin in August last year around six months after spending £21million on Paraguay international Almiron, and both investments have started to pay handsome dividends.

However, head coach Bruce, who saw £40million striker Joelinton also arrive last summer, knows the gap to the league’s big boys is a yawning chasm and that only attracting more players who can make a difference – something which may become somewhat easier if a proposed largely Saudi-funded takeover is approved – will even up the playing field.

He said: “To mix with the elite is difficult these days. The elite are still a long way off.

“For me, we have to take the club forward. We’ve seen the best of Joe over the last few weeks – he’s looked more accomplished in a wide role and given me more food for thought – Almiron and Allan… we have to keep adding that bit of quality.

“Make no mistake, they are the ones who make the difference.”

Newcastle, who face West Ham on Sunday, had been relatively modest spenders under current owner Mike Ashley until he sanctioned a club record move for Brazilian Joelinton, building instead around a core of players in the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey, who helped the club fight its way back into the top flight.

Bruce said: “They’ve been here three or four years. For me, they epitomise the club. They know the club, what it’s like, they know the demands of what it takes to play here at Newcastle.

“The club needs that nucleus. It’s important that you keep it. How often do you see a club that gets promoted from the Championship and, all of a sudden, the team that’s got you there is dismantled very, very quickly?

“All of a sudden you can get yourself in a mess. I think it’s important with the core players here that we tap into that core.

“Certainly the team who got the club into the Premier League three years ago is still here, still playing and still rightly being rewarded with new contracts.”