Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has told Shields Gazette of his eagerness to hand Jacob Murphy a new contract – the midfielder was wanted by Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke City earlier in the season.

Murphy, 26, has featured 18 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United this season, scoring the one goal for Bruce’s side as they’ve gradually got themselves in a relegation scrap.

The Englishman who spent part of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday was wanted by his former club on loan ahead of this one, with Forest and Stoke City having joined the race too.

The Championship trio wanted Murphy on a season-long loan but a deal wouldn’t materialise – now with Murphy’s contract set to expire and talks seemingly at a standstill, it could bring about a summer move to any of the three clubs.

Speaking to Shields Gazette, Bruce said of the situation:

“I sincerely hope that we tie Jacob Murphy down. He’s been a big plus this season after spending a couple of years on loan.

“He’s played a big part in the season. He’s had, for him, a really good season where he knows now that he belongs in the Premier League. I’ve been very very pleased with him. Moving forward, I’d love to see him at the club. It’s what we want: young, hungry, determined to do well – he ticks all of those boxes.”

The Magpies sit just a place and three points above the drop zone. It’s been a terrible season for Bruce and should his side drop down into the Championship then they might step up their contract pursuit of Murphy.

Either way, Murphy remains a player with some years ahead of him and he could yet have Premier League interest if he doesn’t seal a Newcastle renewal, with Rangers having been linked throughout the season as well.

If one of Forest, Stoke City or Wednesday could land him on a free in the summer, it’d be a huge plus for whichever manager that does.