ALAN PARDEW is hoping this week's positive financial results will enable him to splash the cash when he attempts to overhaul his Newcastle United squad in the summer.
The Magpies recorded a £9.9m profit after tax in 2012-13, the third year in a row in which they have been in surplus, and have also banked £20m from the sale of Yohan Cabaye, which was completed after the last financial period.
Securing a replacement for the French midfielder will be one of Pardew's biggest priorities this summer, and with Shola Ameobi out of contract and Loic Remy unlikely to remain in the North-East, the Newcastle boss will almost certainly find himself searching for two experienced strikers once the transfer window reopens.
They will not come cheap, but while Mike Ashley will ultimately make the final decision over the summer budget, Pardew is hoping the continued strength of the club's accounts will persuade the owner to loosen the purse strings.
On previous evidence, that is far from guaranteed, but if Ashley is serious about establishing Newcastle as a regular presence in the Premier League's top ten, he will surely have to fund a considerable outlay in the close season.
“The finances of the club are in good shape,” said Pardew. “We know we've got to do some work in the summer after losing Cabaye, so you'd like to think we'll have to spend some of that this summer. The board have done well to get those figures, and we look forward to the next stage of our growth.
“I haven't really discussed the budget going forward for the summer. We will sit down and talk about that, and that's something for the future, but as the manager, you always want to be more competitive than you are.
“We strive to maximise everything we can, and every pound that we've got. Hopefully, that's reflected in results and where we are now.”
Newcastle are expected to make another approach for Montpellier midfielder Remy Cabella this summer, but having been quoted a £14m price tag last month, Magpies officials are unlikely to find things any cheaper this time around.
Similarly, while an £8m deal for Luuk de Jong would potentially fill one of the two likely attacking holes in the squad, other clubs will be aware of the money Newcastle received from the sale of Cabaye and will set their own prices accordingly.
There could also be issues to address in other areas of the field, with Fabricio Coloccini's future uncertain given his long-standing desire to return to Argentina, Mathieu Debuchy being constantly linked with a summer switch to Paris St Germain and Hatem Ben Arfa in a delicate position as he prepares to enter the final year of his deal.
“I think we'll have a summer where we have to be quite a bit more active than we have been for a while,” said Pardew. “We're looking light in certain areas. The strikers is an area we're going to have to address for sure, and we're going to have to find a replacement for Cabaye. That's a big job in itself, let alone another couple of positions that we might need.
“Might players leave? Possibly. But we'll have to wait and see. There's still another 11 games yet, and that's a huge band of games that we've still got to play.”
The first of those 11 matches takes Newcastle to Hull City tomorrow, and pits Pardew against Steve Bruce, who he previously encountered during the North-Easterner's time at Sunderland.
Having started the season as one of the favourites for relegation, Hull find themselves in 11th position thanks to a string of impressive results that include a 3-2 win at St James' Park in September.
Bruce was derided as something of a managerial dinosaur when he was dismissed at Sunderland, but he has successfully reinvented himself at the KC Stadium, to the point where Pardew feels he should be a strong contender for the Manager of the Year award.
“With my LMA hat on, I'd have to say that up until this point, Steve is probably the Manager of the Year,” he said. “He's got another ten games to see that over the line, but if you look at what he did last year with ten games to go to get them promoted, and then factor in getting them to the position they're in, that's a fantastic achievement.”
Bruce's successful transfer dealings have been a key factor in Hull's success, and Pardew has revealed that two of the Tigers' recent additions are players he has tracked extensively in the past.
His long-standing interest in Shane Long is well known, but he also made a brief attempt to sign Tom Huddlestone last summer before the former Tottenham midfielder joined Hull.
“Huddlestone was someone I would like to have brought here, and he has proven at Hull what a good player he is,” said Pardew. “We didn't come that close really. It was more discussions about a player who would fit well with the way I play.
“Fair play to Steve, that was a good signing. As was Jake Livermore. You also have to take your hat off to the chairman for the way he backed Steve with the two strikers (Long and Nikica Jelavic).
“Both are not exactly 24-year-olds. They're senior strikers and good purchases. We looked at Long for a long period, and I liked him.”