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Apr 9, 2011

Gutierrez targets strong finish

Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez is hoping a strong finish to the Barclays Premier League season will help manager Alan Pardew land his summer transfer targets.

The Magpies eased themselves back into the top half of the table with last Saturday's rousing 4-1 victory over Wolves, and know they would all but mathematically guarantee their place in the top flight if they were to return from Aston Villa on Sunday with all three points.

However, while that would be mission accomplished in terms of the club's sole aim for their first season back in the big time, Gutierrez insists it would not mean the hard work would be over.

The 27-year-old said: "Always if you want to sign new players and you can say you finished in seventh position, it is better than saying you finished 15th. For the signings you want to bring, it is better to be able to say that you have finished the last year in a good position.''

Pardew and his scouting team have already drawn up a list of potential targets and the club are currently doing their homework to ensure the kind of success they achieved last summer when landing Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote.

The former FC Twente midfielder has proved a huge hit at St James' Park and is a perfect illustration of the kind of player in which owner Mike Ashley wants to invest - young and talented, but with potential - as he plans for long-term success.

Speculation has already linked the club with a host of players across the globe, and also suggested those members of the current squad who could leave, with Spanish full-back Jose Enrique, who has put talks over a new contract on hold, strongly tipped for a big money move away from Tyneside.

Argentina international Gutierrez, too, has been touted as a target for prospective buyers, although he insists he has no desire to go.

He said: "I have always said I am really happy at Newcastle. Of course, you can't say you will never go because in football, anything can happen. But what I can say is I enjoy Newcastle and I don't want to leave.''

Gutierrez added with a smile: "Personally, I am happy at the moment because the weather is improving. I am enjoying it. It's my third year here and it's my best season for the club.''

The former Real Mallorca winger is, of course, one of the survivors of the club's last traumatic trip to Villa Park on May 24, 2009, they day they slipped out of the Premier League after a 1-0 defeat when a draw would have kept them up.

This time around it is Villa who are in trouble after a run of seven league games which have brought just one victory and six points from a possible 21. For that reason, Gutierrez, who like his team-mates will be keen to erase the bitter memories of that fateful day two seasons ago, knows the Magpies will be in for a fight this time around.

He said: "Aston Villa is going to be a really tough game. They want the same as us, to take the points to climb the table as quickly as they can. But we are confident we can get something there. If we can't get the three points, then we need to come away with at least one, but we don't want to lose.

"They have a great team, but sometimes you don't start the season well and all of a sudden you find yourselves in a bad situation. You have some bad results and it is hard. But if you look at the squad and the players they have, they have a big squad and some high quality players.''

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