The Lowdown: Newcastle’s season
After 19 games played this season, Newcastle sat in 19th place with a dire total of 11 points.
However, since the arrival of Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes and Matt Targett in January, Eddie Howe’s side look transformed.
As a result, the Magpies finished the campaign in 11th place with 49 points, just nine points behind sixth place Manchester United.
The Latest: Kenny’s claim
Paddy Kenny believes that Newcastle should be aiming for a finish in the top-six next season, given what he’s seen at St. James’ Park since January.
Speaking with Football Insider ahead of the transfer window opening, the 44 year-old claimed:
“It sounds crazy but from what I’ve seen, why not?
“If they had this team and manager from the first week of the season they would have finished in Europe this season, make no mistake about that.
“So, with a few new players this summer, why can’t we be talking about Newcastle in Europe?
“Some people have said Champions League, I think that’s still a few years away yet.
“But Europa League or even the Conference League would be amazing for them, I know the fans would love having European football back at St James’ Park.
“I think they are better than the likes of Wolves and Brighton and they have been up there this season. Why not?”
The Verdict: Busy summer?
With the Magpies expected to dip into the transfer market again this summer with the addition of ‘two or three quality signings’, the idea of qualifying for European football becomes a far more realistic proposition.
Newcastle’s last participation in a European competition was a Europa League campaign in the 2012/13 season.
However, with the Tyneside club under new management and with the arrival of a number of strong additions to the squad, if Howe can keep his side playing like they were towards the end of the season, then it would not be surprising to see the Magpies challenging the likes of Manchester United, West Ham and Leicester for the top spots in Europe.
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