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Lee Clark: Newcastle-Sunderland no Bruce problem; Pogba wants signings; Arsenal trouble

There's that rivalry between Sunderland and Newcastle but if Steve Bruce is the best man for the job, then it doesn't matter what the history is.

There were many players before and after when I played for both clubs and there will be more in the future that will do the same. I don't think anybody can ever doubt my loyalty to Newcastle, I've been a supporter since the age of 8.

When I made that decision it was a footballing decision, and I think Steve might say the same thing for his management career if he takes over at Newcastle. He may get a chance to manage a club that was competing for the top ten of the Premier League before he arrived.

Everyone knows about the club and what their ambitions are. They don't want to spend huge amounts of money in the transfer market. I think survival in the Premier League is paramount and they are not really bothered about cup runs. It's been that way for the last decade, they've never put strong teams out in cup competitions.

For the last couple of years it has been an intense battle for relegation for the first part of the season. And I'm sure all the supporters would agree that it was Rafa Benitez's coaching that got them out of trouble.

The thing is we are only a couple of weeks away from the start of the season and there's no manager, the club's not made a signing and they have lost one of their star players.

I wrote in my last column that it would be a tough job for whoever takes over from Rafa. Steve's got broad shoulders and a strong personality. He wouldn't be bothered about the outside noise.

But there is a lot of disharmony from the public, on the terraces. It's a tough period for whoever goes in.


There was talk of Ayoze Perez returning to La Liga in order to break into the Spain team before Rafa Benitez left. But I think with Rafa moving on, it's changed the mindset of a lot of players.

Leicester City are a very ambitious club, with signing of Perez and also Youri Tielemans. They are trying to invest and knocking back some huge bids for the likes of Harry Maguire, which shows you the ambition they have. Brendan Rodgers is one of the top managers in the business. I think Perez has had a think about that and the opportunities he could have.

It was quite a large fee Leicester paid, but it's a bad deal for Newcastle at the moment because they haven't brought anyone in to replace him.

The proof will be in who they get in to replace Perez. That will be the key to see whether it was a good move or not.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have a strong relationship with Paul Pogba on personal level, and I think he's got to keep that strong if he wants him to stay at the club.

A lot of the noise is coming from Pogba's agent but Solskjaer needs to show Pogba they are trying to get back to the level that they were at by making some top quality signings. I think that will be the key.

Paul wants to be challenging for the top honours. The signings Solskjaer makes over the next few weeks for Manchester United will be important to keep the Frenchman satisfied, as it will convince him that the club's ambition matches his own.

Signing Harry Maguire and maybe one or two more would probably do enough to convince Pogba that United are looking at getting themselves back up the table next season. If he sees that there is quality coming into the squad - and it does need a big overhaul - then I think you'll hear less from Mino Raiola because United are trying to win trophies again.


United have been struggling in the transfer market, but nowhere near as badly as Arsenal.

It is not possible for either club, but especially Arsenal, to bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City without investing heavily.

When you see the squads that both of those clubs have, their benches are ridiculously strong. You need to spend big money. If you don't spend big money, then you're not going to be challenging those two clubs. It's simple.

I don't understand why there isn't more funds available. I thought when they moved to the Emirates and everything was sorted with the big stadium, that then the funds would come in because obviously they were getting more people through the turnstiles.

They could use the excuse of not being in the Champions League, but how do they think they'll get there without investing as much as their rivals? The simple answer is they won't. Arsenal will remain where they are if the purse strings aren't loosened.

Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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