Jermaine Jenas has suggested that Newcastle United need a “good splurge” in January if they want to finish in the top four this season.
The Magpies have enjoyed a dream start to the new campaign as they sit third in the Premier League after 13 games.
Eddie Howe’s side have only lost once this season and they have won five of their last six games in the league.
Optimism is growing that Newcastle could mount a sustained push for a European place this term after they feared relegation before Howe replaced Steve Bruce in 2021/22.
Ex-Newcastle midfielder Jenas thinks his former club will at least be “a part of the conversation for the top four”.
“I think for Newcastle to finish in the top four they’ve got to have a good splurge in January,” Jenas told William Hill.
“But I think they’ve got a chance, I really do. There’s no doubt about it, they’re going to go all the way this season and push the Premier League’s big clubs. Their defence has looked absolutely solid and they’ve been scoring goals at will at the moment, so there’s a lot to like about how they’re playing.
“Whether they do finish in the top four come May, it’s a tough one, they’re going to be very close. A lot will depend on how Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea do.
“And Liverpool, no matter what’s happened so far this season, they’re going to be a part of the conversation for the top four come the end of it.
“It’s about which team will have that longevity and consistency and at the minute this is the first time in a long time that Newcastle are in the situation where they can go on long winning runs.”
Jenas has also encouraged Newcastle to snatch James Maddison or Harvey Barnes away from Leicester as they need to “strengthen those wide areas”.
Newcastle were linked with Maddison in the summer but they were unwilling to match Leicester’s £60m asking price.
Jenas added: “But they do need to strengthen those wider areas. In the areas where Miguel Almiron – as well as he’s playing – or Allan Saint-Maximin play. All teams can be improved.
“There’s a couple of players at Leicester that can improve them – James Maddison or Harvey Barnes. I would like to see Newcastle move for one of them. they would certainly improve the club.
“What they need is depth. When you start going back to the likes of Chris Wood or Jamaal Lascelles you start to fall back to type.
“But if they can just add a little bit more depth to what they’ve already got… I’m not saying go and sign Neymar or a big superstar, I think that just derails things if you do it too quickly.
“And with Eddie Howe and his methods and how he likes to play, the best thing about Newcastle is they’re a team and doing it as a unit, so he has to find those players that will fit in as a part of that.”