Newcastle can be top eight with transfer backing - Benitez

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Rafael Benitez believes he can turn Newcastle United into a top-eight club if he receives financial backing to improve the squad in January. The Magpies ended a winless run of nine Premier League matches with Saturday's 3-2 victory at West Ham and next up is the daunting challenge of runaway leaders Manchester City at St James' Park.

Owner Mike Ashley is in talks with Amanda Staveley regarding a takeover of the club, and Benitez feels some shrewd spending in the mid-season transfer window could see them build on their current standing of 15th, one point clear of the bottom three. "I think that this club still has great potential," Benitez said.

"If we do the things that we have to do now in January and we stay in the Premier League, it's one of the teams that has to be in the top eight. Watching the table and the size of the other teams. But we have to be sure we understand that this is a crucial time for us."

"I know sometimes you have a target and you cannot get your target. You have to be sure that we have three or four positions and we bring someone that can give us something different. I think it will be positive."

"If you talk about the massive money that has been spent in football in these years, maybe it is not easy. But you never know. To improve teams like Newcastle, if you do the right things it is enough to be stronger and bigger and compete.

"If you spend £200million, £300m every year, obviously even if you make mistakes you have a good team, but without spending so much money, you can still improve and do well. That is my idea if we are capable to stay in the Premier League."