Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala celebrates scoring
According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United have submitted an enquiry to Middlesbrough as they pursue centre back Daniel Ayala - but they may have to pay a huge fee for him.
Benitez will be looking to not only mount a promotion push, but also mould a squad capable of surviving in the Premier League once they do get back to the top flight, whenever that may be.
A host of players have already been linked, but the Daily Mail report that Newcastle have now submitted an enquiry for Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala.
Ayala, 25, was a defensive rock for Middlesbrough as they won promotion to the Premier League, but he's now being targeted for a move to St. James' Park.
Ayala was signed by Benitez at Liverpool way back in 2007 having been on the books at Sevilla, and after loan spells at Hull City and Derby County, Ayala was sold to Norwich City in 2013.
Now at Boro, Ayala has been a key player for Aitor Karanka, and it's no surprise that Boro have responded to Benitez's hopes of a Tyneside reunion by slapping a huge asking price on their Spanish defender's head.
The report claims that Boro want a huge £15m fee for Ayala, which is believe to have put Newcastle off a deal, and they may now look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements this summer.
Benitez may want to work with Ayala again, and he'd be a superb addition to the Newcastle defence, but unless the Magpies are willing to spend the majority of their budget on one player, this deal looks like it won't be going ahead.
Would you like to see Newcastle splash out on Ayala?