Steve Bruce insists he will not be Mike Ashley’s ‘yes man’ at Newcastle.
Benitez was a popular figure with the fans at St James’ Park and most were disappointed to see him leave.
The appointment of Bruce has received a mixed reaction from Newcastle fans with many unhappy with Ashley’s selection.
“I think you’ve known me long enough. I’m not going to be anybody’s yes man,” Bruce said after introducing new club record signing Joelinton to the media.
“I’m too long in the tooth for that. I’ve heard it said that I’m a puppet or not in charge of transfers or what have you, but I can only report on how he’s been with myself and he’s been straight down the line in the conversations I’ve had.
“That can only be a good thing. I’m not his bag-man or anything else. I will certainly be my own man, I always have.
“And all I can ask is to be given a chance. Whoever was going to be sitting here would find it difficult, with the support (Benitez) had from the fans – it was quite phenomenal. Unbelievable.
“Whoever was sitting here would have big shoes to fill, but let me have a crack.”
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Benitez claimed Ashley’s ambitions for the club did not match his own before departing when his contract expired in June.
But Bruce, who met with Ashley at the club’s training ground on Wednesday, hopes the arrival of Brazilian striker Joelinton for a reported £40million can go some way to appeasing the unrest among fans.
“I had the conversation and there was money to spend. It was all positive in that respect. There is proof already,” Bruce said.
Bruce is expecting more new signings and confirmed the club’s interest in Nice forward Allan Saint-Maximin.
“I don’t think it’s on the verge of happening, but he’s somebody we have looked at. He’s somebody we have identified and we will see what happens.
“We have lost about six players, I’m not saying we will get six in, but the crucial thing is that they are at the right quality.
“We are at the stage now that can you get the quality that takes you forward.
“Ideally we would like another three or four, but numbers I can’t really put on it because one or two always fall away. But we will do our utmost.”