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Steve Bruce to Newcastle latest as Magpies prepare to fly out for China tour

NEWCASTLE chiefs continue to pursue Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce as they bid to finally replace Rafael Benitez.

The Magpies continue to haggle over a compensation fee for Bruce, who asked the Owls if he could speak to his boyhood club earlier this week.

Wednesday are holding out for a significant pay package in return for losing their boss, assistant Steve Agnew and coach Stephen Clemence just weeks before the first game of the Championship season.

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Bruce has agreed personal terms with Newcastle after first hearing of the club’s interest on Monday.

The former Sunderland manager met with Toon officials on Wednesday and Thursday before the compensation problem arose.

Starsport understands Bruce’s appointment was meant to be announced in a press conference on Friday afternoon before the compensation setback.

The Sheffield Wednesday boss is now set to be in the dugout for today’s friendly against Lincoln unless a significant breakthrough is made between the respective parties.

The 58-year-old, along with Agnew and Clemence reported for training as normal on Friday as negotiations continued.

Newcastle chiefs remain confident of securing Bruce and his backroom staff in the near future.

However, should a deal fail to materialise, the north east outfit will be forced back to the drawing board just weeks before their first Premier League clash with Arsenal.

Newcastle fly out to China today as they prepare to take on West Ham, Watford and Man City in the Premier League Asia trophy next week.

Neil Redfearn and Ben Dawson have been overseeing first team duties since Benitez’s departure last month.

But Newcastle are yet to strengthen their senior squad this summer, making them the only top flight club to not make a signing so far.

Ayoze Perez has left for Leicester, while last season’s top scorer Salomon Rondon isn’t likely to return on a permanent deal now Benitez has departed.

But despite the glum mood among the fanbase, club captain Jamaal Lascelles is trying to stay positive.

“We are travelling to China and it’s going to be a great experience playing in a completely different country with different surroundings and environment. We are very thankful to be taking part,” he told Newcastle’s official website.

“A big part of it will be gaining experience, seeing different situations at the same time. Winning games will put a marker down and set an example for what we are going to do during the new season.

“I do think every game we play, especially in pre-season, will push us toward a good start of the season. We will be looking to win the games.”

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