Rafa Benitez’s answers questions on Newcastle’s transfer plans

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez has admitted Newcastle United could have to reassess their transfer plans after the club lost three players to injury.

Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Vurnon Anita suffered injuries in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford.

And Gayle’s injury has left Benitez, already without Aleksandar Mitrovic, with just one fit striker – Daryl Murphy.

Gayle – who opened the scoring at Griffin Park with his 20th goal of the season – limped off the pitch with a hamstring problem.

The club’s medical staff are assessing the injuries suffered by the trio this week.

Asked if Gayle’s problem could mean the club has to sign another striker in this month’s transfer window, Benitez said: “At the moment, I think we have to wait and speak to the doctors.

“I will speak to my people and we will decide, but we have to analyse where we are and see what we can do.”

Benitez was already looking to sign a midfielder, either on loan or on a permanent deal, before he lost Hayden (groin) and Anita (ankle) against Brentford.

On the club’s efforts in the transfer market, Benitez added: “We are working on that. We will see what we can do.

“The ideal situation would be to get the right players, not just to get players. We are working on that and seeing if we can do something or not this week.”

Benitez, linked with a move for former Newcastle winger Andros Townsend over the weekend, must cobble together a team for Wednesday night’s FA Cup replay against Birmingham City.

Townsend, sold to Crystal Palace last summer for £13million, has struggled for form at Selhurst Park.

Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that owner Mike Ashley – who was at Griffin Park with managing director Lee Charnley – wanted a more hands-on role in the club’s recruitment.

Ashley, it is claimed, has “reinstated” the controversial transfer policy, overseen by chief scout Graham Carr, that was ditched after the arrival of Benitez, who oversaw last summer’s profitable player trading.

The billionaire reportedly made the move after a series of meetings with the club’s hierarchy.

Benitez, however, was promised control of transfers when he committed himself to the club in the wake of relegation.

United have made no comment on the story.