By Russell Edge

21st Oct, 2017 | 7:01pm

'Something quite special' - Garth Crooks makes bold claim over future of Newcastle

By Russell Edge

BBC pundit Garth Crooks has claimed that Newcastle United could be a top six side if manager Rafael Benitez is given the investment needed by a new owner.

The Magpies announced they were up for sale on Monday after releasing a statement from St James’ Holdings Limited, the company fronted by current owner Mike Ashley.

As a result there has been much speculation over the future of the Magpies, with numerous reports over what might happen on Tyneside.

The Chronicle reported that Newcastle were in talks with four separate parties, all of whom had signed non-disclosure agreements to further discussions.

Meanwhile the Shields Gazette claimed that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, current owner of NBA side the Brooklyn Nets, was interesting in heading a bid for the Magpies after holding long-term interest.

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Now Crooks believes that any of these potential new investors could see the club break into the top six in the Premier League, so long as they back Rafael Benitez and provide him with what he needs.

Speaking on the BBC’s Final Score programme (21/10, 16:00), he said: “I think that the Newcastle fans think that he (Benitez) deserves the resources to take them to where the fans want them to be, which could be a top six side.

“It’s a huge club, and Rafa Benitez has the pedigree to do something quite special. He’s a top class manager and they’re lucky to have him.”

Newcastle have found themselves in the top six already this season, and currently reside in sixth after picking up a late win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, thanks to Mikel Merino’s header.

Their next match sees them face off against Burnley at Turf Moor, with the Clarets just one point behind the Magpies after losing 3-0 away at Manchester City.

In other Newcastle United news, this man has confirmed he is looking to depart the club in January despite having signed a long-term contract.

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