Rob Lee believes Newcastle United can achieve their dream of winning the Premier League - but warned the substantial funds must be spent wisely.
The Magpies’ Saudi Arabian-backed owners have made no secret of their desire to deliver the club’s first top-flight title since 1927.
But they also know that will take time - and lots of it - with their ownership less than 12 months old.
Having won their fight against relegation last season, Eddie Howe’s side will be expected to build on that 11th-placed finish after another transfer window of recruitment.
Lifting a Premier League title, of course, is not expected this season, nor will it be in the next few years at least, but Lee has outlined the steps Newcastle must take to get there.
And it includes learning a few lessons from United’s top-flight rivals.
‘Look at Manchester United’
Magpies legend Lee told NewcastleWorld: “With the right people running the club and the right amount of investment on the right players, without a doubt, Newcastle can do it.
“If you asked me that 20 years ago with Manchester City, I would have said no. If you asked about Leicester, I would have absolutely not, 100% no.
“People will be worried about Newcastle. Maybe not at this moment in time but they’ll be worried if Newcastle keep investing in the right players and building the club up to where it should be. It’s a huge club.
“Mainly, it’s about money, but you have to spend it correctly. Look at Manchester United, the money they’ve wasted on players. Everton as well.
“You can have all the money in the world or be the richest club in the world but if you spend it on the wrong players, you’re not going to win anything.
“Sometimes, new owners think they’re playing Football Manager and go and buy the big names but they’re totally wrong for the football club.”
Getting the recruitment right
There can be few complaints about Newcastle’s recruitment since the new owners arrived in October with around £140million spent.
So far this summer, United have signed Matt Targett on a permanent basis from Aston Villa, goalkeeper Nick Pope and No.1 defensive target Sven Botman, whilst Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes and Dan Burn joined in January.
Howe’s mantra is to sign good characters as well as good people, an approach Lee believes is key.
“We need to get players that want to play for Newcastle and I don’t see us as a stepping stone,” Lee said.
“What I love about Bruno Guimaraes is he said he wants to become a legend at Newcastle, which is great to hear.
“It’s about getting the right players and getting to know whether the player wants to come for money - which is important - but also, does he want to play for Newcastle?
“As (Kevin) Keegan told me many, many years ago, ‘do you want to get on this big ocean liner?’ and that’s the way it looks to me at the moment.
“People joining now actually want to join Newcastle. In the Premier League, you’ve got to pay good wages but hopefully it’s not for the money.”
A new forward is a must
With five weeks of the summer transfer window remaining, Lee is in agreement with Newcastle fans over what positions need strengthened.
Lee said: “I know through my time at Newcastle that the fans thrive off the attacking players. They love it when you sign a top attacking player.
“The fans appreciate good players but they love it when you sign a striker or flair players.
“There’s no doubt Callum Wilson is the No.1 striker but he’s injured an awful lot so I don’t think Newcastle can rely on him to be there all the time.
“It’s no secret they need a top forward - we need one before the season starts, and I’m sure Eddie Howe knows that also.”
Ahead of the new Premier League season, fans have been sharing their levels of optimism as part of the latest Sky Bet Fan Hope Survey.
Fans were asked how optimistic they are for the upcoming season as part of Sky Bet’s Fan Hope research
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not optimistic at all, 10 being very optimistic) Manchester City fans scored a 9.0 with Everton 4.9
Newcastle fans were the ‘least hopeful’ last season but are now the third ‘most hopeful’ with a score of 7.7 following and a great end to last season
You can read the full survey results by clicking here.