Rafa Benitez hopes to seal his first Newcastle signing in the next 48 hours - with more to come

Rafa Benitez hopes to seal his first Newcastle United signing in the next 48 hours - with more to come in the next seven days.

Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 3:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 5:23 pm
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez during a press conference at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Benitez has been working overtime the last few weeks to get new players through the door as he starts to mould his squad for the new season.

The Spaniard revealed that he is close to FOUR signings - and that the first transfer breakthrough could come as soon as today when the club secretary at the selling club returns from holiday.

And Benitez hopes to add another two or three new faces to his squad before the players return for pre-season training.

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He said: “We have three or four things ready. It’s just that we have to start with the first one and then we have two or three that I think we can do in one week.

“But we can say nothing as the person who is responsible at this team is away.

“He will come back on Friday. We have to wait until he is here and then we finish the deal.

“The deal is nearly done but he has to sign it.”

The Magpies have been linked with a host of players as they prepare for life in the Championship, including Spaniard Alvara Arbeloa, who Benitez managed at Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The Gazette revealed earlier this week the club’s interest in Arsenal defender Isaac Hayden, while attackers Ross McCormack and Lee Tomlin have also been linked with a move to Tyneside.

Reading midfielder Danny Williams is the latest player to be mentioned as a possible target, while Benitez has also instructed his scouts to look at the Spanish market.

“We’re working very hard,” added the Newcastle manager. “It’s not easy, the market now, because the prices are so high, but we’re fine.

“We have three or four things ready, and when I say ready, it’s really, really nearly there but we are waiting for someone who is working at another club and he needs to come back and sign the documents.”

Benitez is also working on shipping out the players he doesn’t want to keep at St James’s Park, with the futures of the likes of Yoan Gouffran, Emmanuel Riviere, Cheick Tiote, Papiss Cisse and Florian Thauvin in doubt.

But he insists his first focus is on adding to his squad.

He said: “We are working on both sides but the main thing, the priority now, is to make sure we’re bringing in the players we need.”