What they perhaps did not realize was that Bruno’s athleticism and intelligence, would mean he would also be capable of making surging runs forward, running through the midfield of the opposition and taking Newcastle higher up the pitch. He has scored three goals in just five starts.
“Goals weren’t necessarily one of the areas where we felt he would enhance us as a team,” said Howe after the late win over Leicester. “Playing him in the eight role, naturally you expect your No 8s to contribute goals and assists and be creative and have a good output, and certainly the way that he’s started, he looks like he can lay in that position for us and excel in there.”
The rest comes down to character and Howe was revealing when asked had the player surprised him in how quickly he has settled.
He explained: “There are two ways to look at that: there’s the person and the footballer, and I think the person settled in very, very quickly. From the first couple of days, he built good friendships and he seemed popular within the group because he’s a very calm, happy person and the lads seem to have taken to him in that respect.
“And the footballer, we were patient with him. We didn’t want to expose him too early to the Premier League while we had a winning team, we didn’t want to make too many changes to the team. But certainly behind the scenes in the training, he showed all his qualities about him.
“He’s picked up the pace very quickly, which is not always easy to do for players new into the Premier League.”
Will other clubs try to sign him now they have made their mistake?
This will be fascinating, but rivals will know Newcastle’s new-found wealth means they are under no pressure to sell their best players anymore.
Bruno has also signed a contract that will have five years remaining in the summer and the plan is for the club to add more high-quality players over the next three or four transfer windows, to build a team that can challenge for honors in the next five years.
That is the ambition and the dream Bruno was sold, but of course it will be difficult. We have already been warned that Newcastle will not be spending £100m plus in every single transfer window and until new sponsorship deals are signed, presumably with companies linked to Saudi Arabia, they are constrained in what they can do by Financial Fair Play Rules.
They have already suffered big losses, spending £93m in January, as well as pumping an estimated £60m to cover additional running costs. The wage bill increased by at least £250,000 a week after January with no outgoing to balance the books so this summer will be about moving players on as well as signing new ones. The two will go hand in hand.
The question is, how patient will Bruno be, because he has made his ambitions clear.
“The ambition [here] is very important for a player,” he said in an interview with the club’s matchday program on Easter Sunday. “Because if you do not have ambition, you have nothing…the most difficult thing here now, in my opinion, is to stay in the Premier League this season.
“After, we come to think about winning the Champions League, winning the Premier League, but step-by-step.”
For all the feelgood factors around the club and the excellent results under Howe, which puts Newcastle in the top four in the form table for 2022, the club are well short of challenging for a Champions League place.
They have the ambition to change that and very wealthy owners, but players like Bruno will want to see proof they are capable of delivering the dream he was sold when he joined.
If, say in two or three years’ time, the Magpies are struggling to break into the top four, or even the top six, the temptation will be to leave for a club that can give him all the things he was promised and still wants .