Rafael Benitez confirms Newcastle United are close to signing a centre-back

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United are tracking Blackburn Rovers centre-back Grant Hanley.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conference

Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that Newcastle United are closing in on signing a centre-back.

Newcastle have been chasing a central defender for some time, as Benitez looks to improve his squad.

Newcastle have made Blackburn Rovers’ Grant Hanley their top target, but they also have interest in a number of others.

Blackburn Rovers Grant Hanley

And Benitez said, when asked whether his side were close to completing a deal for a defender: “Lee Charnley knows we need bodies to have all of the positions covered. We are short of centre-backs.

“We had to manage that with the minutes and positions. It is clear that in some positions we need bodies.

“I think we will have somebody soon.”

Newcastle are still trying to negotiate an acceptable deal for Hanley, with their first two offers being turned down by Blackburn.

Blackburn's Grant Hanley

It is believed that Hanley wants a move to St. James’ Park, but Rovers do not want to lose their prized asset cheaply.

Newcastle currently have just Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett who are capable of playing at the heart of their defence.

The Magpies have made five signings so far this summer, as Benitez reshapes his squad for the upcoming Championship campaign.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conference

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