Kevin Nolan is ready to sign a new contract at Newcastle - and has urged midfield colleague Joey Barton to follow suit and help guide the club back into Europe.
The Liverpudlian pair have been instrumental in the Magpies' strong return to the Barclays Premier League this season, with the Tyneside club lying 12th going into their final game against West Brom. Nolan is the club's top scorer with 12 league goals, with Barton adding four and setting up several more for his team-mates.
A new deal for Nolan is thought to be close and he said: "Over the last two years I feel I've proved myself here but I don't want it to stop at that. I want it to go on over the next three, four or five years. I'd like us to keep Joey. He's a big player and he has said he wants to stay."
He added: "We all want Joey to stay, we want to keep this squad together. We can't afford to lose any other big players."
The club are less hopeful of retaining Spanish full-back Jose Enrique, another key player whose contract ends this summer but who appears to have set his heart on a move away.
Manager Alan Pardew has prioritised keeping hold of his current stars before moving on to new signings.
Nolan, the club captain, believes the core of a squad to push for Europe is in place and believes further acquisitions can take them to the next level.
"The Europa League is the minimum this club should be aiming for," he continued. "We have the potential to do it.
"The most important thing is bringing in the right people, who understand what it takes to play for this club.
"That's what they do at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. As soon as new players arrive, they know what is expected of them. That's what we need here."
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