Former Newcastle United coach says club needs to make number of new signings

Former Newcaste United coach Steve Stone says the club need to sign an “awful lot of new players” this summer if they are to compete following their promotion back to the Premier League on Monday night.

The Magpies sealed an immediate return to the top flight after just a one-year absence as they thrashed Preston North End 4-1 at St James’ Park, with a brace from Ayoze Perez and further goals from Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie sealing their emphatic return to the big time.

But despite their fine form in the Championship this season, Stone – who was part of the coaching team at St James’ Park for five years between 2010 and 2015 – believes manager Rafa Benitez must make a number of changes to his first team squad if his side are to avoid being sucked into another relegation battle against next term.

The 45-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live: “They still need an awful lot of new players before next season.

“Fans realise they’re not going to win the Premier League next season and they will struggle to get into the top 10. They need to get a foothold in the Premier League first, otherwise they will become a yo-yo club.

Stone saw the club finish 15th, 10th and 16th before they were relegated from the Premier League in 2016, and the former England international believes now is the ideal opportunity to push the club on to make sure they don’t find themselves battling at the wrong end of the table again.

He added: “It’s been a long time since Newcastle were battling at the top of the Premier League.

“Now is the time to buy and build, and make sure club doesn’t have to play in this division ever again.”