Premier League

Bruce the man to take Newcastle back into Champions League - Asprilla

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Steve Bruce takes charge of training for the first time

Image credit: Getty Images

ByPete Hall
24/04/2020 at 07:20 | Updated 24/04/2020 at 08:38

Steve Bruce should be retained by Newcastle's prospective new owners, as he is the man to take the club back into the Champions League, according to former striker Faustino Asprilla.

Newcastle are on the verge of being taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium which involves crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for around £300m, despite reservations from several organisations, including Amnesty International.

A £17m non-refundable deposit has reportedly been paid to current owner Mike Ashley on Tuesday, but a full takeover is subject to the Premier League’s owners and directors test which assesses the suitability of would-be buyers.

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Should the deal go through, however, eccentric Colombian Asprilla, who once lit up St James' Park on European football's greatest stage, with a hat-trick in a famous 3-2 victory over Barcelona in 1997, believes Bruce is the man to take the new-look Magpies into the top four.

"I think we have to keep Steve Bruce. He's a good manager and coach, so I think he should stay," Asprilla told Sky Sports News. "He knows the club well. He's done very good things with limited resources in recent times, so I think he'll be able to achieve more than he has so far with better players at his disposal.

"All the coaches are good and the players are good. I have no doubts about that. I think we have to keep him in his role so that he keeps working on this big project.

"They have to choose top players who want to go to Newcastle because they're ambitious to win the Champions League and other competitions. I think that's essential in order for a team to enjoy success. We all want Newcastle to be back among the best internationally, not just in the Premier League, but in the Champions League as well, by doing things properly without rushing.

I think Newcastle will certainly be back among the best and fighting for the Champions League. That's what I'm hoping for.

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Asprilla also revealed he would relish the chance to return to Newcastle as a coach if he was given the opportunity.

"If they were to give me the chance [to coach the strikers], I would be delighted to go back because I like the people in Newcastle and the way they treated me," he said. "So, if I can contribute something to help achieve what I didn't win on the pitch and can do that off the pitch by coaching the strikers, it would be a pleasure.

"The Newcastle fans in England are fantastic. I was lucky enough to play all over the world, from Brazil and Colombia to Chile, Mexico and Italy."

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