(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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Pundit and former Newcastle United defensive coach Mark Lawrenson has backed the club to stay in the Premier League following a strong January transfer window.

Newcastle spent roughly £90million as they signed Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Matt Targett and Dan Burn to strengthen their squad in a bid to remain in the Premier League.

The Magpies’ 80-per-cent owners PIF are the richest in world football and the club spent more than any other during the January window.

But Lawrenson believes patience will be required for Newcastle to get to the same level as Manchester City.

City were taken over in 2008 and had to wait less than three years to lift their first major trophy under new ownership. In the meantime they also achieved 5th and 3rd place finishes in the Premier League.

But since lifting the FA Cup in 2011, Manchester City have gone on to lift a further 15 major titles and are on course to win the English top flight for the sixth time in the last 11 seasons.

“I think it’s going to be quite a while before Newcastle reach those levels,” Lawrenson said.

“When City were taken over, they had better players than what Newcastle have now, and it took them long enough to be where they are now.

“I think you’re talking five plus years at least and that’s if they can get the players in they want.

“It’s alright having that money, but if you’re a top player, do you want to go to Newcastle or do you want to go to City, Liverpool or Chelsea?

“When City started, it was only Chelsea who had the same amount of money to compete, and it wasn’t as difficult.

“The thing for Newcastle is to obviously stay up this season and I think with the signings they’ve made; they might just do it. It’s the start of a long road.”

Newcastle currently sit a point from safety in the Premier League with 17 matches remaining. Lawrenson, who coached at Newcastle during the 1996/97 campaign, has backed The Magpies to remain in the top flight.

But even if the worst should happen and they drop down to the Championship, he expects them to bounce straight back up once again.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if they did go down because it would just delay plans for another year,” he added.

“You then find out about the characters of the players in the Championship, in a league they should walk if they get relegated.

“I just have the feeling that they’ll be okay, it’s a mad scramble down there, but they’ve started to improve, signed some new players, so I think they’ll escape.”

Newcastle have been relegated twice from the Premier League in the past 15 years but have managed to secure an immediate return to the top flight by winning the Championship.

United’s next game is at St James’s Park on Tuesday night as they take on fellow strugglers Everton (7:45pm kick-off).

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