Championship kick-off looms: Newcastle boss Benitez wants three more despite double deal for Diame and Clark

Ciaran Clark gets shirty as he settles in at St James's Park after joining Newcastle for a reported �5million
Ciaran Clark gets shirty as he settles in at St James's Park after joining Newcastle for a reported �5million
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Rafa Benitez is looking for up to three more signings at Newcastle United this summer.

The Magpies took their gross summer spend to almost £45million yesterday with the acquisitions of Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark.

Newcastle – who kick off their Championship campaign at Fulham tomorrow – captured the pair after activating their release clauses at newly-promoted Hull City and relegated Aston Villa respectively.

Manager Benitez hopes Diame will bring goals to his midfield in the Championship, while centre-back Clark will add to his defensive options.

“Obviously, we know about the problems at centre-back last year,” said Benitez. “And we wanted to be sure we had enough people.

“He (Diame) can score goals. Every team needs an offensive midfielder who can score goals.”

Diame, 29, said: “It is a great feeling to be a Newcastle player.

“Everybody close to me knows how desperate I am to play in the Premier League again, but when Newcastle comes in for you it makes you think.

“I am looking to the future. Newcastle will be back in the Premier League, for sure.”

And 26-year-old Ireland cap Clark said: “It is a club that is moving in the right direction and pushing for the right things, so I’m really excited to now be a part of that.”

Benitez, however, is still looking to add a winger and a striker to his squad, though he has admitted it will be “tough” to sign Brighton wide man Anthony Knockaert.

Asked if there would be more arrivals, Benitez said: “Hopefully so. We know we need something. I’m really pleased with the squad and the players.

“But we know we have to bring something that will give us more balance.”

Benitez added: “I would like two or three more players if it is possible.”

Brighton rejected a Newcastle bid for Knockaert last month, and the Tynesiders are determined to hold on to the 24-year-old.

Asked on BBC Radio Newcastle about Knockaert, Benitez said: “We know that will not be easy.

“It will be tough to convince them. Normally, you try (to sign a player), and if you cannot, you move on.”

Meanwhile, Benitez – who has studied the statistics of promotion-winning Championship teams this summer – also said that he was looking to get the “balance” right between defence and attack.

“For me, the key is balance,” he said. “We have to strong enough in defence and really good in attack.”

Defender Jamaal Lascelles, 22, is set to be named as Newcastle’s new club captain, with the squad numbers released.

Benitez said the identity of the new captain – who will succeed Fabricio Coloccini in the role – was “not rocket science”.

Lascelles – who emerged as a dressing-room leader late last season – has captained the black and whites throughout pre-season.

Moussa Sissoko and Jonjo Shelvey also wore the captain’s armband last season, but neither is a contender to skipper the team this term.