Santon eyes Champions League

Italy star happy and settled with the Magpies

Davide Santon: Believes Newcastle can challenge for a top four spot next season

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Defender Davide Santon insists he is happy at Newcastle and believes the club can challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot in the coming season.

The 21-year-old moved to the North East from Italian giants Inter Milan last summer in a deal believed to be worth in excess of £5million.

After an injury hit start to his Toon career Santon slowly established himself in Alan Pardew's starting XI, helping the club launch a surprise assault on the European places.

Their eventual fifth place finish means European football will return to St James' Park for the first time in five years.

Reports earlier in the summer had linked Santon with a move back to his homeland, though the full-back has previously insisted he is happy with the Magpies.

He has again reiterated his desire to stay at the club ahead of the new campaign and believes they can go one better next season and finish in the top four.

"I'm really good," he told calciomercato.com. "I have recovered from a knee injury and now I'm facing the pre-season with Newcastle at my best.

Great season

"I am fine here, now I know what the coach wants and I'm ready to play a great season.

"I think we can fight for a place in the next Champions League, it's hard but we can do it.

"I left Inter Milan because I was not playing and I needed my space to grow and now I'm delighted to wear the Newcastle shirt.

"AS Roma wanted me but Newcastle replied that I was not for sale and I am glad of this."

Santon did admit, however, that he would relish the chance to play for his boyhood club AC Milan at some stage of his career.

"When I was a child I was an AC Milan fan and it would certainly be great to wear that shirt even if I should think twice about it, having played for Inter," he added.