Former Magpies goalkeeper Harper is worried for Newcastle and Sunderland.
Newcastle and Sunderland take up two of the three places in the Premier League relegation spots, and Steve Harper has told talkSPORT that things are not going to improve for the North Eastern clubs whilst the gap between them and the bigger sides continues to grow.
Harper said: “They are two big, big clubs. Maybe 20 years ago it was possible to get real quality players up here [the North East], but now the big clubs just keep getting bigger, and it doesn’t show to be getting any easier for the clubs in the North East.”
Newcastle and Sunderland defined their pre-seasons with a wealth of transfer business, hoping to build on their poor seasons last term with plans to enjoy better campaigns this time round.
The Magpies spent heavily to bring in the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Florian Thauvin, whilst the Black Cats did some impressive business with the arrivals of Yann M’Vila and Jeremain Lens.
Whilst all the signings at both clubs have impressed in short spells, there has been a real lack of consistency across the whole campaign, and this is what separates those players from the truly top quality ones at the bigger Premier League clubs.
Obviously the bigger sides can spend more money and offer Champions League football for prospective signings, but Newcastle and Sunderland used to be able to offer the draw of their support and size to beat opponents to transfer.
However, this is not the case anymore, and Harper believes that, whilst they remain big clubs, they are only going to fall further and further off the pace as the gap between Newcastle and Sunderland and the big Premier League sides continues to widen.
The two North Eastern clubs face a fight to stay in the Premier League this season, but even if they do, the increasing gap means that they are sure to be relegated to the Championship before too long.