Newcastle United are close to signing Atletico Madrid right-back Jesus Gamez – and a centre-half is next on the Magpies’ hitlist.
Gamez is due on Tyneside to complete a move to the Championship club after two years at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
The 31-year-old’s imminent arrival puts a question mark above the future of Dutch international Daryl Janmaat.
Gamez can also play at left-back and would offer Benitez cover in central defence.
Newcastle – who have already signed Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Matz Sels – hope to follow Gamez’s signing with that of a central defender following the departures of captain Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
Bristol City’s Aden Flint is on their transfer radar.
Flint – who has also been watched by Sunderland – is interesting a number of clubs.
But the Robins, backed by billionaire Steve Lansdown, do not have to sell their best players this summer, and the club hope to keep him at Ashton Gate.
Flint, signed from Swindon in 2013, also has three years left on his contract.
Newcastle have also considered moves for QPR’s Steven Caulker and Arsenal’s Jayden Isaac, who spent last season on loan at Hull.
Benitez – who will take his squad to Ireland next week for a training camp ahead of the July 16 friendly at Bohemian – is hopeful of further progress in the coming days.
Speaking this week, he said: “We were working to get some players ready, and then we did three in a row. We are still working. We have some players there (and) ready.”