Hull City’s relegation from the Premier League has left the Yorkshire club vulnerable to any top-flight suitor who takes an interest in one of their players.
Robbie Brady and James Chester have already been spirited away from the Tigers and Bruce fears more could follow before the window closes on September 1 after revealing that scouts from no less than 15 Premier League clubs were at last weekend’s opening day victory over Huddersfield Town.
The potential turmoil this could create at the KC Stadium is frustrating Bruce, who has added his voice to recent calls by Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal for the end of the window to be brought forward to the eve of a new campaign.
“The transfer window being open until it is makes life difficult, especially for a club in a situation like ours,” said Bruce to The Yorkshire Post.
“With salary decreases and buy-outs, as a manager you are not in control. If someone comes in and meets the price for any of them, then they are off. We don’t have any bargaining power.
“I have contingency plans (if one of his key players is sold), of course I do. I have had to think like that for the past eight weeks.
“June was quiet because everyone was on their holidays but then it all started when we came back for pre-season.
“There is still time for other bids because last week we had 15 Premier League clubs at our game. It is a problem.
“I am delighted with what we have got now. We had to be patient and we were the last club in the whole footballing world to bring someone in. We had to see what was going to happen (with regards interest in the Hull squad).
“Then, with the big clubs you always have to wait until they come back from being on tour before anything can be done over signings. In the end, though, we got the two boys from Arsenal.
“I have been very pleased with what we have done, we’ve got four or five, which is good. I just want us to hold on to that.
“But, if I am a betting man, I wouldn’t say that will happen. I might lose one or two.”
Ahmed Elmohamady is one City player who is understood to be on the radar of at least a couple of Premier League clubs, while West Ham are interested in Tom Huddlestone, and Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez continue to be linked with a move away.
With a little over a fortnight of the window to go, however, Bruce says City have received no bids.
Instead, it is incomings that is most focusing the club’s hierarchy with an improved bid having been made for Shaun Maloney of MLS side Chicago Fire and an offer to buy Brentford’s Andre Gray still on the table.
Bruce is keen to push both deals through but admits to being nervous as to what the rest of the window will bring in terms of interest in the Hull squad.
“We could do with it shutting pretty quickly,” he added. “I would like it to close before the season. Absolutely, I would.
“I realise it doesn’t help that all the leagues around the world kick off at different times. But it would help if something could be done.”
City travel to Wolves tomorrow and, as with the opening day game against Huddersfield, neither chairman Assem Allam nor son Ehab will be present.
Hull’s owners have vowed not to attend any games this season but, in terms of club affairs and the day-to-day running, Bruce insists it is business as usual.
He added: “I went to see the old man (Assem Allam) yesterday and nothing has changed. I am quite fortunate in that respect, that they let me manage and get on with it. And that is still the case.”
Meanwhile, a date has finally been set for the FA hearing into Jake Livermore’s failed drugs.
The 25-year-old tested positive for cocaine in the wake of City’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on April 25.
Details emerged this week that Livermore – who is facing a ban of up to two years – had been badly affected by the death of his baby son shortly after the 2014 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal. It is believed this will be put forward at the hearing, set for the week beginning April 24, as possible mitigating circumstances.
Bruce said: “There is no doubt about it, Jake has problems. When everyone has problems you try and help them the best way possible. He expects to be punished, but we also have to try and help the lad.
“For me, this process has taken too long, but it is obviously edging toward a conclusion.”