Barton: Newcastle must spend wisely
Alan Pardew's side moved up to ninth spot in the Barclays Premier League thanks to Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Birmingham but Barton believes the Magpies need to add to the 15-16 top-quality players he feels are already part of the squad if they are to become a major force.
"We need a squad to compete on all fronts and we want to do that," said the in-form 28-year-old. "That's up to the men upstairs to make sure we amass a squad and get the bodies in to challenge for Europe. You need to spend money. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys so hopefully they spend it (the Carroll money) and spend it wisely."
Barton added: "We've probably got 15-16 Premier League-quality players with that experience but I think you need 20-22 to really compete at the top end.
"I know it's the nature of this club sometimes that it's stop-start. As soon as we get something going, players get sold and then we have to start again. It feels like it's a constant work-in-progress and it is tough in that respect, although we have character and spirit in abundance.
"We've got some good players in there and, if we can add more to that in the summer, then we've got the basis, a spine of a top side and a side that is capable of challenging for Europe, in my opinion."
Barton is full of praise for Leon Best for the way he has grabbed the chance presented to him after Carroll's departure to Liverpool on the final day of the January transfer window.
The former Coventry player scored with a powerful header to wrap up the points at St Andrew's.
Barton said: "Besty has taken the bull by the horns so if anyone doubted him before, he's shown what he is about.
"Strikers live and die on goals and he's done that. We've got enough quality in the side that, if they are willing to work and put a shift in for the team, then we'll get chances."
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