Rafa Benitez on his hopes for more late transfer ‘business’ at Newcastle

Daryl Murphy
Daryl Murphy
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Rafa Benitez is a happy man at Newcastle United after a double swoop and a win – and he’ll be happier still when the transfer window closes.

Defender Achraf Lazaar became the club’s 11th summer signing yesterday when he signed a five-year deal at St James’s Park.

Experienced Republic of Ireland striker Daryl Murphy also joined from Ipswich Town over the weekend.

United manager Rafa Benitez is still looking to sign a winger – Chelsea’s Christian Atsu is one target – before Wednesday night’s transfer deadline.

The acquisitions followed Saturday’s 2-0 Championship win over Brighton and Hove Albion at St James’s Park.

Speaking after the game, Benitez said: “Now I am a little bit happier, but if we sign what we want and we can do the business that we want to do, then I will be happier.”

Newcastle are set sell midfielder Cheick Tiote, who is in Turkey for talks with Galatasaray.

The club are set to bank £1.5million from the sale of the 30-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract and does not feature in Benitez’s plans.

Murphy – who had a five-year spell at Sunderland earlier in this career – will offer Benitez another option up front.

The 33-year-old Republic of Ireland international has signed a two-year deal at the club.

“I’m absolutely delighted to get it over the line and really looking forward to it,” said Murphy.

“When I knew the club was interested, it was a no-brainer for me so I’m happy it’s all done.

“I think with the squad of players that the club have now, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”

Benitez wanted a powerful striker to compete with Aleksandar Mitrovic up front.

“Daryl has experience and has proven that he can score goals in the Championship,” he said.

“He gives us another option in attack and we could see from this weekend’s game against Brighton that we needed more bodies up front.

“Daryl has a good attitude and he can be very important for us this season.”

Lazaar, 24, will compete with Paul Dummett for a place at left-back.

“I am very happy to be at Newcastle United,” said Lazaar. “I’m proud to sign here because Newcastle is a great team in England.”

Benitez said: “Achraf is a good, young player with international experience who has grown his game in Italy.

“He gives us width on the left, has a good left foot and will add great competition to the squad.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s third-round EFL Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’s Park will be played on Tuesday, September 20 (7.45pm kick-off).