Blackburn defender Grant Hanley on way to Newcastle but Benitez has some tough calls
Rafa Benitez is ready to make some tough calls as he rebuilds Newcastle United's squad.
The Magpies, who have already signed five players this summer, are close to signing Blackburn Rovers’ Grant Hanley.
Newcastle – who take on Dublin side Bohemian at Dalymount Park this afternoon – are hopeful of landing the £6million-rated defender with an improved bid.
But there will also be departures this summer, and United manager Benitez is braced for bids for some of the bigger names, with the futures of unsettled pair Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum in the balance.
Tim Krul and Daryl Janmaat also face uncertain futures at St James’s Park, while Yoan Gouffran and Emmanuel Riviere could also leave before the transfer window closes.
“We’re still working very hard behind the scenes to bring in some players,” said Benitez.
“Now we are in a situation where we are waiting, and the market is starting to move.
“It seems some clubs have money and we will receive offers for players and analyse each one carefully and do what is best for the club.
“We want to add more players. Maybe some players will leave. We will decide.”
Newcastle’s priority is centre-half following the summer departures of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
And having had two bids for Hanley rejected, the Magpies are understood to be close to agreeing a deal for the 24-year-old, who has extensive experience of the Championship.
United managing director Lee Charnley has been handling negotiations with Blackburn, and he has been in daily contact with Benitez while he has been in Ireland.
“There is a lot of speculation about names, but we are trying to get balance,” said Benitez.
“We need a centre-back – that is obvious.
“But it’s too soon, and Lee Charnley is controlling the business. We are in contact every day, and hopefully we can do something in a few days.”
Meanwhile, Benitez has been pleased with the work his players have done in Ireland.
“We are working very hard and I am really pleased with the facilities,” he said. “The players have trained very well, and the team spirit is good.
“The fans here have also been fantastic, so we have no problems.
“The weather is fine, and some people might complain about the rain, but it is good for us.
“Everything is like we wanted it to be, and it has gone well.”