Alan Pardew says that Newcastle will be aiming to qualify for Europe next season, in order to fight to keep a core squad together in the long term.
Newcastle look to be set for a big shake-up this summer, with Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith all set for exits, and Jose Enrique’s future still unclear.
Newcomer Yohan Cabaye and numerous other targets appear to be eating up the £35 million collected from the sale of Andy Carroll, as the Toon look to rebuild their side after the departure of the young striker.
Pardew says that in order to keep the core of the team together next season, the Newcastle manager will be making European participation his top priority.
“We have got to become more competitive as a football club so players like José don’t want to leave,” Pardew said. “He has Champions League aspirations and he is waiting to see whether anyone who has qualified for that competition is willing to come in for him.
“That is his right and there isn’t much more we can do about it. We have tried as hard as we can, in the financial situation we are in, to keep him. We offered him an excellent deal, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in signing it at the moment.
“It is frustrating – but that is the situation we are in. It is up to him, but he wants to see what else there is for him.”
Pardew says that Newcastle should aim to get back into Europe within the next two years, in order to not only keep their current stars, but attract top quality talent.
“Unless we can become more competitive, finish in the top eight in the Premier League and, eventually, qualify for Europe, this will keep on happening,” Pardew said. “It is extremely hard to keep hold of your best players without that status.
“In the next two or three years we have to get back into that sort of position and then we can keep the best players and attract even better ones.
“That is the challenge we have ahead of us. I don’t want to be in a position as manager where this keeps happening year after year – so we have to progress, and we have to improve.”
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