Cheick Tiote is targeting a charge towards the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League table next season after helping to steer Newcastle to the brink of safety.

The 24-year-old midfielder has been a key figure in the Magpies' bid to secure their top-flight status and they head for Liverpool on Sunday with 41 points already banked to rubber-stamp their place for the new campaign.

Tiote said: "My dream is for next season to play for the top four or five. But if we want to compete against top teams like Manchester United, we need to buy some new players, some good players, to be able to do that."

Tiote's ambitions may be a little optimistic, in the short term at least, for a club which has been engulfed in turmoil in recent years and has undergone a major restructuring process.

However, his eagerness to help re-establish the Magpies as a force in English football will go down well with supporters starved of tangible success for more than half a century.

The Ivory Coast international has proved one of the signings of the season and has quickly endeared himself to the fans at St James' Park with his high energy approach to the game.

Such has been his form that a series of potential suitors have been alerted to his talent, prompting the Magpies to tie him up in a new six-and-a-half-year deal after barely six months on Tyneside.

Owner Mike Ashley and manager Alan Pardew are hopeful of persuading the likes of Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton to follow suit, although they may have their work cut out with Spanish full-back Jose Enrique, who has been heavily linked with Sunday's opponents.

Tiote said: "You need to keep your big players, the important players in the team like Kevin and Joey.

"We need them to stay and to buy some new players as well so we have a big squad and a strong team for next season."

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Topics:
#Joey Barton
#Football
#Kevin Nolan
#Premier League
#Newcastle United
#Jose Enrique
#Manchester United
#Liverpool