Following the signing of winger Jacob Murphy and the imminent arrival of Atletico Madrid full-back Javier Manquillo, The Chronicle have revealed that Rafa Benitez will now turn his attentions to a striker and a goalkeeper.
Starting with strikers, Daryl Murphy’s £2m move to Nottingham Forest is expected to go through today, with his departure opening the door and freeing up the wage bill for the arrival of a striker or two at St. James’ Park.
Benitez has clear reservations about Aleksandar Mitrovic – who looks certain to be sold if the right offer comes in – and he will not be prepared to rely on Dwight Gayle, despite his impressive tally of 23 goals in the Championship last season.
Potential targets looks likely to include Andre Gray, Michy Batshuayi (loan), Diego Rolan or Willian Jose according to recent reports.
On the goalkeeper front, Tim Krul and Karl Darlow’s look set to lie elsewhere, with Benitez believed to want a new number one signed to offer competition to Rob Elliot and the promising Freddie Woodman.
When speaking about Rob Elliot earlier this week, Benitez confirmed his intentions to buy a new goalkeeper:
“He is a good goalkeeper but I want him to compete.
“You can’t have players that think this is easy because they are the only one in that position.
“Hopefully we can bring in a new goalkeeper, and this competition will be good for the team.”
Pepe Reina is widely known to be Rafa’s number one target, but that deal looks increasingly unlikely.
West Ham’s Adrian, Real Madrid’s Kiko Casilla and Alphonse Areola of PSG are three alternate options that we have been credited with an interest in and could be ones to watch.