Two international stars linked with Newcastle switch – as wage demands could halt defender departure

Newcastle United's Grant Hanley.
Newcastle United's Grant Hanley.

Newcastle United have been linked with moves for two international stars as Rafa Benitez ramps up his summer search for reinforcements.

But, on the departure front, Grant Hanley’s exit could prove problematic, with the Scot needing to take a wage cut in order to secure a move back to the Championship.

The Magpies boss is keen to get a chunk of his business done early this summer with a major rebuild planned ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.

Since the end of the season United have been linked with scores of deals – Mexican international defender Miguel Layun and Ghanaian midfielder Afriyie Acquah are the latest from the continent.

United face a three-way battle for Porto left-back Layun, with Italian giants Roma and Espanyol also said to be keen to add the 28-year-old to their ranks.

Layun, who can play on the left or the right of defence, played 25 games in all competitions for Porto.
The 50-times capped Mexican international spent a 18 months at Watford, starring in their promotion campaign after joining in January 2015.
But he made just three appearances in the Premier League for the Hornets before being sent to Porto on loan, where he was later signed for £5million.

Reports from Africa claim that United are set to rival Juventus to nab combative central midfielder Acquah from Torino.

Benitez is in the market for a midfielder this summer, with particular strain placed on Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Colback as the second tier campaign drew to a close.

At £8million, Acquah could prove shrewd business for Benitez, who is understood to have around £100million to spend on transfers this summer.

In relation to Benitez’s summer rebuild, Hanley looks certain to one of the first casualties.

The Newcastle boss is keen to bring in at least one central defender – Eliaquim Mangala of Manchester City and Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City have been heavily linked.

And Hanley, as well as Chancel Mbemba, Vurnon Anita, Jesus Gamez and Achraf Lazaar, could be one of the men that make way at the back.

It has been reported that former Blackburn Rovers skipper Hanley is on around £45,000 per week – and to see a move to Derby County or Aston Villa materialise, he may have to lower his demands.