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Bruno’s versatility will make it easier for Newcastle to find buyers

From a No. 6 to a No. 8 to a No. 10 there is no role Bruno can’t master!

Newcastle United v Luton Town - Premier League Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

In Saturday’s Premier League matchup between Newcastle and Nott Forest, Eddie Howe finally relented and allowed his best player—full stop—to play in his preferred role—a forward-projecting No. 8 instead of a defensive No. 6—and the results couldn’t have been any better.

Bruno, playing a little bit further up the pitch than he has usually done under Howe at Newcastle, scored twice after doing so just once in the prior 20+ games he’s appeared in earlier this season and, even though Howe doesn’t want to give him more chances there, the Brazilian proved his worth at creating plays in fascinating ways.

Too bad, the performance might only make it harder for the Magpies to keep the playmaker in tow through the summer with many suitors already tracking the South American and many more expected to join the race to sign him as soon as the transfer window opens next mid-June.

It’s widely known that European behemoths Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid will submit offers for Bruno next July, with the expected outcome being the departure of the midfielder from Tyneside on his way to roaming greener pastures. Bruno has a release clause in his contract with NUFC quoted at £100 million, and as much as he’s refused rumors and links to other clubs, it’s very obvious he will bolt from Newcastle as soon as a giant comes calling.

Speaking to the media postgame on Saturday, Bruno was a bit mad at the talk and denied all rumors saying “Sometimes people speak a lot about me—I just speak a lot about football. I’m very happy here and I like how the fans think of me here.”

That’s great news from the Magpies and their faithful, but right after that Bruno added “We have to get Europe [football] again, try for Champions League.” He made clear that he knows “it’s difficult,” before admitting “definitely [we are aiming] for Europa League.”

So, you are telling me if Real Madrid or PSG—in other words, yearly Champions League contenders, not just qualified clubs—offer Bruno the chance to join their empires... he’s going to simply say ‘no’ and stay put in Newcastle while playing Conference League football? Let me doubt it, as much as it’ll pain me to report his departure in four months.

And it is not just about playing for a superteam away from North England, but also doing it when he feels the most comfortable while on the pitch, that is, higher up the field. Bruno talked to Sky Sports pundits last weekend, claiming “I can play No 6, 8, 10... The gaffer gave me freedom,” which was true last Saturday but not before that—nearly, at all—at any point prior to the game against Nott Forest.

Howe views Guimaraes primarily as a No. 6, which is certainly not wrong nor a bad fit for Bruno in a very glaring way, but the Brazilian is a much bigger threat going forward than he is staying put on his own half deployed in a deep-laying playmaker role that is always reserved for him.

“Absolutely no doubt Bruno can play as a No. 8 and do well,” Howe acknowledged, “but then we need to find a solution for the No. 6, and that needs to work for the team.”

That, while again right in the present moment and with the endless number of injuries impacting Newcastle’s roster, is true. That, however, is simply not how Howe has used Bruno even when everybody has been available in the Magpies' midfield.

Beggars can’t be choosers but liars can’t be trusted. Perhaps someone is losing some faith in another one here...

For now, Newcastle has enough to worry about by simply focusing on what’s happening inside the stadiums they’re booked to play in weekly, with their season on the line for the next few months having to face strong competition as soon as the end of February—at Arsenal in the Premier League, then at Blackburn in the FA Cup three days later.

Then, in June and as CEO Darren Eales has already more than confirmed, there will be time to address sales and cash in while players’ values are at their peak. One of those, I’m afraid, will surely be Bruno Guimaraes.