Hull City manager Steve Bruce has ridiculed reports that he is trying to sign Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck and Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart, labelling the claims ‘ludicrous’ and ‘totally pie in the sky’.
Rumours of a potential £14 million move for Welbeck came in the wake of the £12 million sale of Shane Long to Southampton earlier this week, with van der Vaart also said to have been a target for the Tigers.
Bruce, however, moved to quash those reports, despite admitting that the club are looking to add a replacement striker, with Watford's £10 million-rated Troy Deeney also linked with a move to the KC Stadium since Long’s departure.
‘There’s no real truth in any of them, if I’m being honest,’ he told reports.
‘’I mean, of course now, with what’s happened with Shane Long leaving, then of course we’ll be in the market for a replacement.’
Speaking before Hull’s Premier League opener away to QPR on Saturday, Bruce stated that depth is needed in the squad in order compete in both the Premier League and Europa League, following last season’s FA Cup final appearance, and noted that he will be looking to field two separate teams over the course of the campaign.
’I’ve come to the conclusion that whoever doesn’t play tomorrow will play on Thursday,’ he said. ‘I think that’s the only way we can approach it.
‘We did it last week in Stuttgart, we played a team against Trencin on the Thursday and totally changed the team and it’s one way now of playing the squad and I think it’s the only way really that we can do it. The lads who are not playing tomorrow will definitely play on Thursday.’
With the sale of Long therefore coming as a surprise, having only signed the Republic of Ireland international in January from West Bromwich Albion for around £7 million, Bruce admitted that Southampton's offer was simply too good to turn down, while stressing that they would now look to make at least three additions with the funds available.
‘In our opinion we got what we thought was a fabulous offer, so it’s up to me now to reinvest that money into the squad and make it bigger and better,' he added.
‘And yes, we’ve got irons in the fire to make an instant replacement but also, with what lies ahead, if I’m being honest I would still like at least another three players to come through the doors.
'With the money that we’ve got from Shane, that allows me to do that. We’ll be active over the next few weeks and it’s up to me to make the squad bigger and better.'