By Matt Farr
Micky Quinn has urged Newcastle to prize Daniel Sturridge away from Liverpool this summer if they win promotion to the Premier League – and suggested three other quality signings for Benitez.
Newcastle are firmly on course for an immediate return to the top flight, and sit at the top of the Championship with eight games remaining.
Ahead of their potential return, Newcastle favourite Quinn has urged the club to give Rafa Benitez significant financial backing in the transfer market to ensure their Premier League survival, and named his four top targets.
In his column for the Chronicle, he suggested Benitez make Liverpool outcast Sturridge one of his main summer targets, as well as Premier League duo Andros Townsend and Kelechi Iheanacho, and Championship star Tom Cairney.
He wrote: “One player who I’d gamble on is Tom Cairney. It’s a risk because he hasn’t done it at Premier League before, but I think he’s ready to make the step up. He looks hungry and has quality.
“Andros Townsend on the other hand is proven in the top flight and he has already shown he fits in perfectly on Tyneside. He has pace, he’s direct, and he will offer United a threat on the break.
“I’d seriously look at Daniel Sturridge and Kelechi Iheanacho. Sturridge is a major risk because he just cannot stay fit. If you can keep him on the pitch though, he’ll get you at least 20 goals in a season. No doubt.”
Sturridge, meanwhile, could quit Liverpool at the end of the season after falling out of favour under Jurgen Klopp.
Iheanacho has also suffered from a lack of regular action this season, and is considered the third-choice striker at Manchester City, behind Sergio Aguero and the injured Gabriel Jesus.
Pep Guardiola could make the youngster available in the summer to kickstart his development, and Quinn thinks he’d be a great fit for Newcastle.
Football Insider verdict
Quinn has hit the nail on the head with the calibre of player Newcastle should be looking to sign if they are promoted to the Premier League. Newcastle are in particular need of a prolific goalscorer to ease the goalscoring burden off Dwight Gayle, and the likely-to-be-available Sturridge is one of the best options out there in terms of top flight experience. Meanwhile, Cairney is a player that looks destined to quit the Championship for the bigger stage this summer, and he would be a fantastic addition to the midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey. The most important factor, however, is the financial backing. Benitez must be given the necessary funds this summer or else the club risks another relegation, and losing the manager to another club.
In other Newcastle transfer news, clubs have been put on alert as this Magpies ace is out of contract in the summer.