Cult hero Nolberto Solano believes the Magpies should be aiming for higher than 17th this season and that a fourth bottom finish should never be considered a success for a club of Newcastle’s stature.
Rafael Benitez’s side have been offered a ‘survival based’ bonus package, which will see the players share £4 million between them if they avoid relegation this season, and a further £1 million on top of that for every position they finish above 17th.
However Solano, who finished 3rd in the Premier League with the Magpies in 2002/03, is concerned over a lack of ambition from his former club.
“But then again, it’s not impossible as Leicester City proved two seasons ago. I’m not for a second suggesting Newcastle could win the league but Leicester showed their hunger and worked hard as a group.
“Their squad wasn’t of the same quality but they achieved the fairytale. You can still be realistic and show some ambition at the same time.”
Solano had two spells with Newcastle between 1998 and 2008, making a total of 314 appearances and scoring an impressive 48 times, and the 2006 InterToto Cup winner wants to see the current crop push for a top half finish.
“It does boil down to what the owner and managing director put into the heads of the players. What is acceptable? What are the incentives? What is realistic? For me, the players need to have more ambition than to finish fourth bottom.” said Solano.
“But if they do this season, they will be rewarded. Personally I’d like to see them pushing for the top 10.”