Fees of £50 million have been bandied about but Man United legend believes John McGinn has what it takes to make it at Old Trafford
"He has to be one of my best-ever signings," Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce said of his decision to recruit Scotland international John McGinn from Hibs during his time as Aston Villa manager.
The midfielder, dubbed Meatball, had helped Hibs to an historic first Scottish Cup win in 114 years before helping fire them back to the Scottish Premiership 12 months later. McGinn joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2018 and instantly endeared himself to Villa fans with a series of barnstorming performances culminating in his winning goal at Wembley as the club returned to the English Premier League via the play-offs.
McGinn scooped the Players' Player of the Season and Supporters' Player of the Season awards and picked up where he left off by netting Villa's first goal on their return to the English top flight, in a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur. Goals against Arsenal and Burnley and assists at home to Everton and Liverpool further raised his stock to the extent that the West Midlands club slapped a £50 million price tag on his head as links with Manchester United appeared.
"He's at Man United's level"
Now Bruce, currently manager at Newcastle United, feels the former St Mirren youngster is more than capable of making the step up if the Old Trafford outfit come calling in January.
McGinn is believed to be a potential target for the Red Devils, who have also been linked with former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to bolster his squad ahead of the second half of the season.
Revealing that a couple of rounds of golf with McGinn's dad had helped to broker the transfer last summer, Bruce said: "We nearly didn’t sign him because we couldn’t afford £2 million.
"But we whipped him away from Celtic just at the right time. I always knew he’d be very good, but he’s surpassed expectations.
“How we kept him away from Celtic I don’t know - because his grandfather was the chairman. I am delighted for the kid because he is a smashing lad.”
Revealing that he knew McGinn was destined to become a fans' favourite at Villa Park when he "crashed into a tackle, sprayed a 50-yard pass and had a shot in his first few minutes," Bruce added: "He has to be one of my best-ever signings because he has a determination to do well.
"Man United? From what he has done in 12 months, he can only improve. He is that level.”