Report: Newcastle see Grant Hanley as their first choice transfer target

Grant Hanley of Blackburn Rovers

The Blackburn Rovers defender is said to be top of Rafa Benitez's shopping list.

Grant Hanley of Blackburn RoversGrant Hanley of Blackburn Rovers

Rafa Benitez has identified Blackburn star Grant Hanley as his prime defensive target, according to the Chronicle.

Newcastle have already reportedly seen bids for the Scotland international turned down by Blackburn, having last offered £4.5 million for the player, and Sky Sports suggesting Rovers are holding out for a £6 million fee plus promotion add-ons.

Blackburn's Grant HanleyBlackburn's Grant Hanley

But rather than considering other targets, the Chronicle has stated that Benitez has his sights firmly set on the 24-year-old, with it almost certain that the Magpies will return with another bid for the powerful centre back as the club seek to get their man.

Hanley has registered 200 appearances for Rovers since making his debut in 2010, and is one of the most highly rated and valuable players at Ewood Park, having taken over the captaincy in 2014 when Scott Dann left for Crystal Palace.

With Blackburn still struggling with financial problems, it is no surprise that they are eager to collect as much money for Hanley as they can. 

Grant Hanley celebrates after scoring the third goal for BlackburnGrant Hanley celebrates after scoring for Blackburn

And with 23 caps for Scotland to his name and still a young player, Hanley would be a superb addition to a Newcastle back line that has lost both Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor this summer.

Newcastle have already signed another talented young British defensive prospect this week after snapping up Issac Hayden from Arsenal, and may be looking for both to be key men as they seek to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Blackburn Rovers Grant Hanley and Bristol City's Lee Tomlin in actionBlackburn Rovers Grant Hanley and Bristol City's Lee Tomlin in action

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch