Former Newcastle star Nolberto Solano has publicly voiced his concerns over his former club's future after what he deemed a subpar summer transfer window.
Solano became the first professional, Peru-born footballer to play in England after joining Newcastle in 1998, playing eight years for the northerners over two spells.
Newcastle managed just six signings in the summer ahead of their return to the Premier League: Jacob Murphy, Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Joselu, Javier Manquillo and Mikel Merino.
But the 42-year-old - whose birthday is next week - has lambasted the Newcastle hierarchy for the severe lack of investment in the team.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Solano believes Newcastle have missed the boat: "Rafa [Benitez] knew that this season would be difficult once the club didn't spend the money they needed in the summer.
"As soon as that happened, it would have been obvious to him that the club's main target for the season was to stay in the Premier League. I don't think January will be a massive help to him, to be honest.
"He will have little money to spend, and exactly who is available that will bring in the right quality in January? There aren't many options out there at this time of year."
Benitez himself has shown his frustration by the lack of spending and backing from the owners, believing it to be a major reason for Newcastle not kicking on.
"It's in June or July you build your squad," Solano added, "and Newcastle didn't do that."
Identifying the likes of Leicester City, Watford and Bournemouth, the Peruvian compared Newcastle to those around them.
"Maybe they haven't spent crazy money, but they have spent a decent amount and they are proof of what you can achieve when you shop with a bit of ambition.
"You just hope that in the summer Newcastle spend well regardless of who is running the club. Then, they can look to kick on, for now they are fighting to stay up."
Newcastle entertain another old side of Solano's in Leicester when the two meet on Saturday evening at St. James' Park.