STEVE BRUCE is confident the ongoing uncertainty over Newcastle United’s ownership will not affect the club’s ability to make transfers this summer – and claims the Magpies are already involved in a battle for two leading targets.

While Newcastle’s season finally comes to an end when they host Liverpool on Sunday, there is still no sign of any clarity regarding the fate of Amanda Staveley’s proposed £300m buyout of Mike Ashley.

The Premier League’s owners and directors’ test is heading towards its fifth month without any indication of when the governing body might deliver a verdict on Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium, but while Bruce has spent most of the last month pleading for a resolution, he remains confident he can make transfer inroads despite the ongoing confusion.

He has discussed his transfer plans with Lee Charnley and the rest of Newcastle’s recruitment team, and is hoping to make some early progress when the transfer window officially reopens at the start of next week.

“When I say business as usual, we’ve got one or two irons in the fire right now,” said Bruce, ahead of his side’s meeting with the champions. “Let’s hope we can pull them off. We’ve got competition but I think that’ll be the case right through the summer.

“As soon as the window opens, we’ll go to work. Things are not on hold. We need that decision to be made, but the only thing I can do, along with Lee, is to keep planning as best we can, and that obviously includes the transfer market.”

Bruce did not want to disclose the identity of the players he is currently pursuing, but his key priorities this summer are understood to lie in the attacking areas.

With Joelinton having struggled to come to terms with the demands of playing as a central striker, he is keen to recruit a new centre-forward, and is also targeting a creative central midfielder.

“The big thing is, ‘Can we get them over the line’,” said Bruce. “There’ll be so many names bandied around. Already the speculation has gone to town, but that’s just the way it is.

“We’ve got one or two, and I’ll be delighted if we can pull them off to start the summer. Watch this space, although I can’t see a big flurry of signings very quickly. I think a lot of clubs are going to have to take stock of what’s just happened in the world. Of course the big boys will dominate the window, but I don’t think there’ll be a huge amount of movement.”

One of Bruce’s other early priorities will be to resolve the position of the club’s loan players. The Magpies manager would like to transform Danny Rose’s temporary switch from Tottenham into a permanent move, although that will require some tough negotiating with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who is adamant he will not allow the full-back to leave for a cut-price fee, even though Jose Mourinho has confirmed he does not see him forming part of his long-term plans.

Newcastle will discuss Valentino Lazaro’s position with his permanent employers at Inter Milan, but are reluctant to shell out the £20m fee that was quoted in a clause in his loan agreement. Ideally, the Magpies would like to take the Austrian on another loan deal next term. Nabil Bentaleb has made a positive impact since joining in January, but is set to return to Schalke after Sunday’s game.

“We’ll have the conversations,” said Bruce. “I’m going to sit down with Lee after the season finishes and find out the respective positions of the clubs and what they want for their players.

“There’s no doubt the three of them have certainly helped us. If we hadn’t brought Danny in, we would have been toiling in that position. Bentaleb has come back from the break and done well. The one who hasn’t really had the game time has been Lazaro, but quietly, I’ve been pleased with him too.”

Newcastle’s players will head off on a three-week break once they have completed the season on Sunday, although the likes of Fabian Schar and Jamaal Lascelles will have to combine their summer hiatus with their recovery from injury.

Schar was due to undergo surgery on his shoulder earlier today, while Lascelles has already had an operation on his ankle. With the new Premier League season due to begin on September 12, the turnaround time is tight, but Bruce is hoping the pair will both be available for the start of the new campaign.

“We’re hoping that it’ll be six to eight weeks for both of them,” said Bruce. “We’re hoping that when the season is about to start, they’ll be there or thereabouts. That goes for all the ones who are injured – Jamaal, Fabian, and Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett too. We’re hoping they’ll be okay to join when we resume training, probably on August 17.”

Newcastle (probable, 4-4-1-1): Dubravka; Manquillo, Krafth, Fernandez, Rose; Saint-Maximin, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie; Almiron; Gayle.