Steve Bruce has launched a scathing attack on the agent of Newcastle striker Miguel Almiron for insisting the player is intent on quitting St James’s Park.
Bruce branded agent Daniel Campos “an amateur looking to make a fast buck” following his claims, reported on Paraguayan radio, that Almiron would already have left Tyneside had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic, and linking him with Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.
Bruce is preparing for face-to-face talks with Almiron, who is yet to return from international duty with Paraguay despite missing Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia through suspension.
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Bruce said: “I couldn’t miss them (the quotes) because they were so outrageous it was bordering on the ridiculous.
“If it was Miguel, who I’ve had the pleasure to work with for the last 15 months, knocking on my door and having a problem, I’d listen.
“An agent who, two years in, is probably trying to profit again and take him somewhere else, is just hugely disrespectful to all of us basically, and to the club in particular who have served Miguel so well.
“I will have a conversation with him of course, but Miguel is an unbelievable pro and has a great attitude to everything.
“But the agent proves to me he is an amateur looking to make a fast buck again, which is pretty ridiculous.”
Almiron is set to keep his place for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off against Chelsea but Bruce is definitely without Ryan Fraser, who pulled out of international duty with Scotland due to a hamstring injury.
Top scorer Callum Wilson faces a late test after limping off with a similar complaint against Southampton two weeks ago, while Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are back in training but unlikely to be risked.
Bruce has questioned the decision to make the Chelsea clash a lunchtime kick-off so soon after an international week, and called for “common sense” to prevail given the increased number of slots available amid the pandemic.
“With the flexibility we’ve got now, let’s give a hand with this and sort it out,” added Bruce. “We went to Southampton on a Friday night and we knew we couldn’t get back after the game because the trains and airports were closed.
“In these Covid times, let’s have a little bit of common sense. These 12 and one o’clock kick-offs, I agree something needs to be done about that.”
Meanwhile Bruce hailed his opposite number Frank Lampard and said Chelsea’s recent form, backed by their quality signings, is set to make them serious title contenders.
“They’ve bought exceptionally good players and that makes life a little bit easier I suppose,” added Bruce.
“But you’ve got to find the right blend and the right balance and they seem to have found that over the last few weeks. They look a very good side and they will be there or thereabouts with the changes they’ve made.”