NEWCASTLE UNITED are closing in on three more players, including a £20m deal for Allan Saint-Maximim, to give head coach Steve Bruce the ideal start to life at St James’ Park.

While Bruce has issued a firm “not for sale” warning to Manchester United in their pursuit of midfielder Sean Longstaff, and hopes are high that the previously unsettled Isaac Hayden will now stay, the Magpies are stepping up efforts to bolster the squad rather than reduce it.

The Newcastle boss admitted on Wednesday that a deal for Saint-Maximim was being worked on and sources in France are suggesting that a deal is close, after he was left out of the pre-season friendly against Boavista.

The 22-year-old, who has represented France at every level except for the senior team, now looks set to follow the arrival of £40m man Joelinton and the hope is for a couple more.

Newcastle are also keen to bring in another young Brazilian, Vasco da Gama’s £10.7m striker Marrony, if the deal is right, and a two-year deal has been offered to former Chelsea midfielder Kyle Scott.

And Bruce has made it clear to Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley that he does not want to boost the transfer kitty by selling Longstaff.

Manchester United are ready to make a fresh move for his services and are preparing a £30m offer, which is believed to be £20m shy of what Newcastle’s valuation is.

The Red Devils are unlikely to go as high as that for a player who has only made nine Premier League appearances, but they are hoping to persuade Newcastle to cash in for less than that.

The extra money could be used for Bruce to reinvest in the squad he has inherited, but he is not interested in that knowing that time is running out to bring in more players – and he would love to keep Longstaff at St James’ Park.

“We don’t want to sell our best young players, that’s for sure. So, that won’t happen. I’m very confident (he won’t go),” said Bruce, who also suggested Hayden might now be warming to stay after angling for a move in the last two windows.

Longstaff, whose brother Matthew appeared alongside him in the Asia Trophy draw with West Ham, is regarded as one of the hottest midfield prospects in England right now because of the impact he made under Rafa Benitez last season.

Having returned from injury that ruined his first season in the first team picture, he is now focused on making an impact with his hometown club even though he did recently admit that he was overwhelmed by the attention he was getting from elsewhere.

But there has been no indication he wants to leave and Bruce would love to have him in the middle of his midfield, having shown in the past that he can develop young midfield talent – such as Jordan Henderson and Jack Colback during his time in charge of Sunderland.

Bruce delivered a polished, albeit natural, performance at Newcastle’s training ground on Wednesday when he was officially introduced to the media at the club’s training complex alongside new recruit Joelinton.

The Brazilian striker signed a six-year deal and arrives with the tag of being the club’s record buy, and Newcastle’s spending will not stop there.  There has been no talk on takeovers between the two, and the sheer fact that Ashley is signing off deals for new players highlights in its own way how he does not believe the Bin Zayed Group will be purchasing the club off him.

And he is convinced that Ashley, despite obvious and well documented reservations the supporters have towards him, does want to see Newcastle battling against relegation year on year in the Premier League.

“Of course he wants more than that (17th),” said Bruce. “Like all of us do. You can’t just say that anyone at Newcastle United is just happy to be 17th.  We’ll try our best. Maybe we can be successful in a cup. Can we win the FA Cup?"