Newcastle boss Steve Bruce explains why Ollie Watkins transfer wasn’t pursued

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has explained that he didn’t pursue a move for Ollie Watkins this summer as Callum Wilson was always the preferred target.

Watkins was linked with a move to St James’ Park though the Brentford ace instead joined Newcastle’s Premier League rivals Aston Villa.

Villa paid an initial £22m for Watkins, who is yet to prove himself in the Prem, with the fee potentially rising to £33m.

Bruce instead opted to sign Wilson from relegated side Bournemouth with the Magpies paying £20m for his services.

And the Newcastle manager has explained why he didn’t sign Watkins, insisting his eye has been on Wilson for many years.

When asked why he turned down a number of strikers, Bruce said: "A lot of forwards? I'm not sure there were. Like who?"

When Watkins was put to Bruce he then said: "Well yeah, look I tried to take Callum from Coventry a few years ago.

"But I have watched his career. There is something about the lad that I enjoy watching.

"He moves well. He is a goalscorer and works tirelessly for the team.

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"I am delighted to have got him. More importantly Callum wanted to play for Newcastle and that always helps. That was the situation."

Wilson got his Newcastle career off to a perfect start, scoring in a 2-0 Premier League win at West Ham.

Wilson led the line well in east London and hopes there is plenty more to come this season.

He said: "I seemed to get off to a good start on my debut and it was a great team performance. We were solid at the back and that gave us the platform.

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"I am quite a confident person anyway and my job is to score goals. I feel this is a great squad with great potential and I am trying to be the definitive piece in the puzzle, putting the ball in the net.

"I like this place, I like playing against West Ham. It is not a disrespectful thing but I keep scoring against them.

"It is about being consistent and building on this performance for the next game."

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