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Eddie Howe admits Newcastle have ‘massively over-achieved’ this season and will have to spend big in the summer if they are to match it.

The Magpies have secured a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League after a 20-year absence – a major upgrade on Howe’s targets from the start of the campaign.

Newcastle have already spent in excess of £250million on players in the three transfer windows since the club’s Saudi-backed takeover, but it will take more to sustain their challenge at the top of the table.

Asked if he was looking forward to that challenge, Howe said in his press conference this morning: “Ask me in a few months. I don’t know if it’s something you look forward to, but the dynamic will have changed for us.

“I think we have massively over-achieved this year for where we were at the start of the season and to keep over-achieving – and that’s what we’re going to have to do to match the expectation – is going to be our biggest challenge.”

Asked if his wish-list would include “marquee” signings, Howe said: “Yes, there would be players we’d love to bring in that would be classified in that bracket, I’m sure.

“For me, it’s more about the role they can fulfil in the team – whether that’s viewed positively or as a marquee signing, then great.

“I’m not in my mind thinking, ‘We have to have one of those players that ticks that box for the supporters’. As much as I’d love to do that, it’s about finding the right player in the right position who I think makes us better.”

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