Mike Ashley must deliver ‘four marquee players’ including striker – as Rafa Benitez utilises Liverpool and Chelsea contacts

Lee Charnley, left, and Mike Ashley
Lee Charnley, left, and Mike Ashley

Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley must deliver ‘marquee’ players to Newcastle United this summer, insists John Carver.

The former Magpies coach and caretaker manager has urged Newcastle fans to ignore the ‘scaremongering’ and rustrations surrounding the club and says the club is in a good position to strike in the transfer market this summer.

They have only signed Christian Atsu since the season ended, turning his loan move from Chelsea into a permanent deal, and with reports that Benitez is unhappy with the lack of incomings, there is a sense of unease at the club.

But Carver sees no reason to panic, claiming Benitez’s work behind the scenes will bear fruit eventually – and that a list of targets including big-game players and young loan signings will improve the squad.

“I’ve got to urge the Newcastle fans to be patient,” he said. “Don’t panic, don’t listen to the scaremongering about Rafa leaving or that he’s going to quit because we haven’t signed anybody.

“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. Rafa will have a plan in place, he’s got his targets: one two and three.

“He’ll know what his priorities are because I looked at the squad last night and I thought we need a player in every position here. And we know that’s not possible but he will know what his priorities are.

“There’s three different areas. He needs three or four what I call hardcore game-changers – marquee players. For example, a centre-forward who is going to chip in with 12, 15, 16 goals as that will almost guarantee you Premiership status for next season, which is very important.

“There are exceptions to the rules but if you look at the sides like Bournemouth, who had Josh King, Palace who had Benteke, they got 14, 15, 16 goals and that kept them in the Premier League.

“Sunderland went down with Defoe but they didn’t have any other creativity.

“I think Newcastle have to buy three or four top marquee players, three or four what I call foot soldiers, creative midfield players who can play either side, and go into this market with Rafa’s experience.

“Rafa has connections in the game at Chelsea and Liverpool. I know they have been linked with the young boy at Liverpool (Ojo), there’s been talk of (Nathan) Chalaboh and (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek, why don’t they go and get two or three of those and that will improve the squad slowly but surely.”

Toon owner Ashley released a statement last month insisting Benitez would get ‘every last penny’ to build a Premier League squad.

Asked if he thought that financial backing will still come, Carver told Talksport: “Absolutely. One million per cent because I know where the football club is now. It’s in a sound position.

“If you think of the assets, and it was clever business last season by Rafa, you look at the assets they’ve got there and they’ve got a lot of good Championship players and there will be sides in the Championship knocking on Newcastle’s door to try and get them because they all want to get back in the Premier league.

“So they’ve got five or six players who are saleable assets there and that will be extra money to go into the coffers along with the money they’ve received from promotion and the money they’ve made in the past.

“So I think there is money there to be spent for sure. I’m delighted to see how they’ve changed their policy and allowing the manager to pick the players. There’s even less on the staff now to make those decisions.

“We’ve got momentum from last season and that’s why I’m saying just be patient Newcastle fans, don’t listen to the scaremongering. We’re still on a crest of a wave and we don’t want anyone upsetting that.

“You know what it was like when we were in the Championship when Kevin (Keegan) was manager and we carried that momentum on the following season and did really well.

“Who knows what can happen but we have to be shrewd and we can’t just panic buy.”