Magpies working hard to fix squad before window closes, says Benitez

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United are working hard to fix their squad before the transfer window closes.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 6:30 am
Rafa Benitez hosts Reading at St James's Park tonight

Manager Benitez is hopeful there will be incomings and outgoings between now and the end of the month.

Newcastle, close to signing Everton left-back Brendan Galloway on loan, are also looking to sign a striker and a winger.

And the Championship club, who host Reading at St James’s Park tonight looking for their first win of the season at the third attempt, also needs to move on “four or five” players who do not figure in Benitez’s plans.

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“It is very clear what we need to do,” said Benitez. “We still have to sign players because we need to balance the squad. But we also have to sell players, or allow players to leave, because that is important in balancing the squad as well. If you have 31, 32 or 33 players, it’s impossible.

“Even with 25 players, you cannot keep everyone happy, so with 31 it is impossible, even if you play two games a week.

“We do not need to sell, but we want to fix our squad and to end up with a number of players that will be enough for the Championship, but that will not be much too big.

“I do not want to have players who do not have any chance of playing. At the moment, we have that situation.

“Why? Because the transfer window is open so there are players who know they will almost certainly not be here, but you are waiting for the right offer and the right offer is not coming.

“I might have said to a player ‘you can go’, but where is the offer? It is not coming. Or someone comes in and says ‘I will give you this figure’, but we say ‘no – it has to be double’. That is what is happening now.”

Cheick Tiote, Henri Saivet and Emmanuel Riviere are among those who will be allowed to leave, either on loan or on permanent deals.

Benitez says time is running out for midfielder Moussa Sissoko to get a move.

Sissoko, rated at £35million by the Tynesiders, is out of tonight’s Reading match with an ankle problem. Benitez said: “We know his agent is doing things, but the deal has to be right for everyone.”

The Magpies will listen to offers for keeper Tim Krul, who is closing in on a comeback after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament late last year.

Meanwhile, midfielder Mohamed Diame will miss out tonight because of an ankle problem.