Jose Enrique gives his view on Newcastle United's spending
Enrique spent four years at St James’s Park before moving to Liverpool in 2011.
The defender – who was given the all-clear earlier this year after having a brain tumour removed – has been speaking about his time on Tyneside and the club’s predicament this season.
“The city, I always compare it to Liverpool in terms of the passion of the fans,” said Enrique. “I was really happy for four years. St James’s Park is beautiful. The fans always supported the team. Even when we were relegated, we were having 40,000 people inside the stadium.”
Enrique was in the team that was relegated in 2009. He opted to stay, and helped the club win the Championship the following season.
“It was very difficult,” Enrique told Sky Sports. “A lot of the players wanted to leave, and then you are a Championship team. It was very, very difficult. In the end we came back and everyone was happy.”
Enrique was sold after criticising the club’s hierarchy on Twitter.
“The club is allowing all the major players of the team to go," Enrique tweeted. "This club will never again fight to be among the top six again with this policy."
Newcastle finished fifth the following season under Alan Pardew, though the club went on to be relegated again in 2016.
Asked what the club’s aspirations should be, the 33-year-old said: “Obviously, top four is very difficult, but it should be a team that fights for fifth and six position, definitely. It’s very difficult now, but it should be a team fighting for Europa League. It should be there.”
Newcastle, under Steve Bruce, are 16th in the Premier League ahead of Saturday's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“I think it’s a team for the Premier League,” said Enrique. “It’s a team that should be fighting for things.
“Steve Bruce is a top manager as well. Rafa (Benitez) was doing well with not much money to spend. All of a sudden they give so much money to spend this summer instead of giving it to Rafa. Hopefully, they don’t get relegated.”