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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 12:33 GMT
Souness sets out transfer targets
Exclusive by Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Newcastle manager Graeme Souness is targeting four new signings before the start of next season in his quest to bring trophies to Tyneside.

Souness has made an outstanding start since succeeding Sir Bobby Robson.

But he told BBC Sport: "The quality I thought was here is here, but I still think there are areas we can improve.

"Every manager feels the same, and in the next nine months I'd like three or four players, then we could challenge anyone you care to name."

Souness has so far had no joy with a move for Chelsea's Robert Huth, while BBC Sport understands that claims he will make a double move for Nottingham Forest pair Andy Reid and Michael Dawson in January are wide of the mark.

And he has been delighted with the performances of the experienced strike pair of Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert - revealing it was third time lucky when it came to working with the former England captain.

Souness admitted: "I've tried to sign him twice before and he's everything I thought he would be.

"I tried to sign him from Southampton when I was at Liverpool and also tried to get him to Blackburn in my later days there.

"I didn't get any encouragement whatsoever from Sir Bobby Robson, but I've got him now."

Kluivert arrived at Newcastle from Barcelona with a reputation as a maverick, but Souness has been hugely impressed with his natural ability.

Newcastle's Patrick Kluivert
Souness has been impressed with Kluivert

He said: "Patrick Kluivert has the ability to be talked about as the best centre-forward in the world.

"Let's see if that ability can be matched with professionalism and enthusiasm, but I've been delighted with him so far. He will be even better when he is fully match-fit."

Souness wants to add to that pair and said: "We want to strengthen in different ways in January and next summer and see where that takes us.

"Whether they come in January or in the summer remains to be seen, but I have my thoughts on what needs doing."

Souness added: "I've not been disappointed at all with the players that I'm working with. The quality I believe existed at St James' Park has been confirmed by what I've seen in my first few weeks here.

"We will have to wait and see how it all mixes in. I feel the time to judge me would be in 18 months, at the end of next season.

"I have inherited a talented group of players. I want to strengthen that to see where we go at Newcastle."

Souness has lost only one game since arriving at Newcastle from Blackburn, and they have also made progress in the Uefa Cup.

And he said: "Generally there is a lift when a new manager comes in and I've been very happy with the results, apart from our one setback at Bolton."





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