Newcastle United boss says he's close to Hanley deal

Blackburn's Grant Hanley

The 24-year-old is "close" to being a Newcastle United player it seems.

Blackburn's Grant Hanley

Rafael Benitez has admitted to The Northern Echo that he is closing in on a deal to sign Blackburn Rovers defender Grant Hanley.

The 24-year-old has been linked with Newcastle United for a number of weeks now after the Magpies reportedly saw a number of bids turned down, according to Sky Sports.

The Mail reported today that both clubs have struck a deal somewhere in the region of £5.5 million for the talented defender.

Grant Hanley of Blackburn Rovers

The North-East club are a little light on centre-back options after losing Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini this summer, but the former Liverpool boss says that Hanley might well become his sixth signing of the off-season.

“It looks like it (Hanley’s transfer) could be close,” said the Magpies manager to The Northern Echo. “But we still have to wait because in football you always have to finalise things. At the moment, it is still a case of waiting with him.”

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conference

He could become Newcastle's third defensive signing this summer, following Jesus Gamez and Isaac Hayden to St James's Park, though the latter may well figure in midfield.

Benitez has also signed goalkeeper Matz Sels, midfielder Matt Ritchie and striker Dwight Gayle this summer as the Spaniard - who was Real Madrid coach this time last year - plots an immediate return to the Premier League for Newcastle.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conference

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