NEWCASTLE United can challenge for a top-six place next season – if the club signs “two or three” more players.
That’s the verdict of manager Alan Pardew after the club finished the Premier League season in 16th place.
Laurent Koscielny’s second-half goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at St James’s Park yesterday.
Newcastle were the better team before the break, but Pardew’s side couldn’t press home their advantage.
And Koscielny’s strike saw Arsenal finish in fourth place – 32 points ahead of United.
Pardew’s set for talks this week with Newcastle’s hierarchy, and he will tell owner Mike Ashley that United can narrow that gap next season with several key acquisitions.
“We showed we’ve got great players,” Pardew told the Gazette. “We’ve had some performances out there which were top drawer.
“We know, in that (dressing) room, we’ve got 80 per cent of the team. There’s no problem with that.
“The younger players are going to be better for the experience this year, dealing with the criticism we’ve had and the hardship we’ve had to face.
“We still need to make sure we get two or three recruits in there which take us forward.
“If we can do that, they’ll grow as well, and we’ll be much, much better next year.
“Of course. You hear managers taking about needing three players to make the perfect side – Arsene would probably say the same – but we genuinely, genuinely need a couple in that first team that compliment the others.”
A striker is a priorty for Pardew, who would love to see Liverpool’s Andy Carroll back at St James’s Park.
Had United won, they would have finished the campaign in 12th place ahead of Fulham.
The club would also have netted an extra £3m in league prize money.
Ashley had pledged to give the club’s non-playing staff a share of a £1m bonus if Newcastle overcame Arsenal.