NEWCASTLE UNITED are closing in on making Valentino Lazaro the first signing of the transfer window, with Steve Bruce warning that it could take him “five or six windows” to get the team playing how he really wants.

The Magpies boss is getting the squad he inherited, largely, from Rafa Benitez to deliver the results to preserve Premier League status and the latest impressive scoreline was Saturday’s dramatic 1-0 win against Chelsea at St James’ Park.

That was a victory achieved despite Chelsea controlling 70 per cent of the possession and dominating the proceedings, requiring Newcastle to defend strongly to lay the foundation for Isaac Hayden to head in the stoppage-time winner at the Gallowgate End.

Bruce has done well to steer Newcastle seven points clear of the relegation zone already this season and they are in touch with climbing into the top ten – something that could be achieved if they stun 11th-placed Everton on Tuesday night at Goodison Park.

But he admits he would prefer to send Newcastle out in games to take the play to all of the their opponents, having had to let the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all dictate the tempo this season. He is realistic, though.

“Until we get to a position where we are ready then,” said Bruce. “Look, I would love to say I would get six new players in now and another six in the summer, but I won’t do that because I think it is impossible.

“But if we add another bit of quality now, then I do believe it will take five or six transfer windows. Whether I am here that long … “There is nothing around in January, we are all scrambling around. There is nothing really yet in the Premier League, and that is how difficult it is. That is the problem. It limits you with how quickly you want to implement things, even some of the big teams find it difficult.

Bruce added: “You can’t just do it overnight. eventually I would love to play the way I want to play, take on Chelsea and get after them, that is how all the top teams play. We can’t compete like that at the minute. That has to be the aim. We have to stick with what we are doing and that suits us.

“I have tried to change and we are not ready for that change. I won’t put the club in jeopardy just for a nice style if you like. We are suited to the way we line up. We can be better with the ball to cause a threat. It can’t be a fluke … we went to Wolves last week and ground out a result, their effort and determination is there.”

Lazaro looks like being Newcastle’s first breakthrough of the window. Bruce is expected to deliver an update on at his Monday morning pre-match press briefing having said he had not spoken to managing director Lee Charnley on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old winger has struggled to play much for Inter this season but impressed for Hertha Berlin last year, where Newcastle chief scout Steve Nickson saw plenty of him. Lazaro’s agent was at St James’ on Saturday to see the victory over Chelsea and he will add an extra option out wide.

Bruce will still want more, asked whether he felt he would get the five windows he wants he replied: “Only results can help me and I am not that naïve. What is best for the club, moving forward, even the top teams in transition, and I am not saying we are, it takes time for the top teams. Real time.  “I have said I will do what is best for the club and that is what I want.   “Yeah (got that feeling of longevity from the meeting with Mike Ashley last week). It is about trying to add that bit of quality. He was interested in why we were interested in this one, this one and this one when we presented them. It can only be a good thing.

“What you hope is that you can take on Chelsea in a few years’ time like you want to. At the moment we have to find a way to get a result against Chelsea, we can’t just open up. We have to be hard working and resolute.  “Since I walked through the door I realised what a great group they are. The majority of them have been here since the Championship, your Isaac Haydens, Jonjo Shelveys, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchies. Lots of them. In that respect there is a heartbeat with them. The way they go about their work they are a very good bunch.”

Newcastle have invested quite heavily in a few players in the last two windows, with Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximim all arriving in fees that finally broke the £16m record fee that was paid for Michael Owen in 2005.

Joelinton has found it tough in the Premier League to live up to his £40m price-tag but his performance against Chelsea was much better, even though he had to lead the line on his own for long spells. He headed against the bar in the first half while also won the corner that led to the winning goal.

“A goal in midweek against Rochdale in the FA Cup, and another against Chelsea for him would have been great,” said Bruce. “He will be fine. He is still young, he will be OK and we are quietly confident he will be OK.  “The big thing is, it’s like puppies at Christmas, you can’t just bring them in for the sake of it. Joelinton will be OK because he works hard enough and I am convinced he will do well for us. He is a good kid, a young kid and we all like him. He looked different out there after his goal in midweek.”

Newcastle’s hard-earned three points against Chelsea arrived at a cost. The injury situation at the club is showing little signn of easing after Jetro Willems was forced off inside 12 minutes with a suspected knee ligament injury.

Given Willems’ is only on loan this season, it could turn out that this was his last appearance for Newcastle if Bruce’s worst fears are realised.  “We will have to see how serious the injuries are to Paul Dummett and Jetro,” said Bruce. “The other injuries I have I expect them back within a week or two. One looks serious, they both of them do. We might have to visit something in the market, we will see.  “We will have to leave people out of the squad to bring people in though so it is hard. In the last four days in particular the injuries have left us short in that wide area.”

French winger Saint-Maximim did make his comeback against Chelsea and was delighted to have the impact he did, sending over the cross for Isaac Hayden's winner.

He said: "It's a great result against a big team. We had to defend a lot. I've been out for a month, it wasn't easy and I've worked hard to get back and ready for this game. I'm really happy to play the full 90minutes and in the end give a good assist for the goal.

"I had to be careful with my hamstring and not do anything stupid. I always knew I could say on the pitch until the end, even if I will be hurting tomorrow."