Benitez wants three more signings at Newcastle

Newcastle new boy Mo Diame
Newcastle new boy Mo Diame

Rafa Benitez is looking for up to THREE more signings at Newcastle United this summer.

The club took its gross summer spend to almost £45million yesterday with the acquisitions of Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark.

Newcastle is a big name, a massive club and will be back in the Premier League, for sure.

Newcastle captured the pair after activating their release clauses at newly-promoted Hull City and relegated Aston Villa respectively.

United manager Benitez hopes Diame will bring goals to his midfield in the Championship, while Clark will add to his defensive options.

“Obviously, we know about the problems at centre-back last year,” said Benitez. “And we wanted to be sure we had enough people.

“He (Diame) can score goals. Every team needs an offensive midfielder who can score goals.”

Diame, 29, said: “It is a great feeling to be a Newcastle player.

“Everybody close to me knows how desperate I am to play in the Premier League again, but when Newcastle comes in for you it makes you think.

“I am looking to the future. Newcastle is a big name, a massive club and will be back in the Premier League, for sure.”

And 26-year-old Clark said: “It is a club that is moving in the right direction and pushing for the right things, so I’m really excited to now be a part of that.”

Benitez, however, is still looking to add a winger and a striker to his squad, though he has admitted it will be “tough” to sign Brighton and Hove Albion wide man Anthony Knockaert.

Asked if there would be more arrivals, Benitez said: “Hopefully so. We know we need something. I’m really pleased with the squad and the players.

“But we know we have to bring something that will give us more balance.”

Benitez added: “I would like two or three more players if it is possible.”

Brighton rejected a Newcastle bid for Knockaert last month, and the club, which is also looking to win promotion to the Premier League, are determined to hold on to the 24-year-old.

Asked on BBC Radio Newcastle about Knockaert, Benitez said: “We know that will not be easy.

“It will be tough to convince them.

“Normally, you try (to sign a player), and if you cannot, you move on.”

Newcastle have spent almost £45million so far this summer, though the club recouped £25million alone from the sale of Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool last month.

Meanwhile, Benitez – who has studied the statistics of promotion-winning Championship teams this summer – also said that he was looking to get the “balance” right between defence and attack.

“For me, the key is balance,” he said. “We have to strong enough in defence and really good in attack.”