Benitez Weighing Up Move For Championship Defender

We had reported yesterday that Newcastle were interested in signing 24 year-old Blackburn Rovers’ center-back Grant Hanley – and it could well be Grant is one of the four players manager Rafa Benitez hopes to sign in the next week, with the first signing supposedly taking place this weekend at some point.

The other big center-back Newcastle have been linked with is QPR’s talented Steven Caulker and we are hoping we can get either Steven in or Grant Hanley in over the next seven days.

Grant-Hanley scotland

Grant Hanley – Scottish International center-back

The Shields Gazette is reporting today Newcastle are contemplating a £5M bid for the 20 times capped Scottish International, but if that’s true it means he isn’t one of the four.

According to Rafa those four signings are almost done and dusted, so Grant looks like he’s another potential defender that could be coming through the door.

The positive for Newcastle is that the 6ft 3ins tall defender has played for Blackburn over the last four seasons in the Championship and he has plenty of experience in England’s second division.

But players Rafa brings in have also to be good enough to be able to form the basis of the team that hopefully will be back in the Premier League next season.

That’s one reason why Newcastle fans are so anxious to see the caliber of player Rafa can attract to the club this summer, with the Spanish manager looking to increase the level of experience in the squad.

Rafa also wants to balance the squad which was short of good defenders last season.

Center-back has been a weakness at Newcastle for a while now and Steven Taylor has already gone and there are also big doubts about whether Fab Coloccini will be here much longer, so maybe Rafa has to bring in two center-backs this summer.

If those two are Steven Caulker and Grant Hanley, we wouldn’t have too many complaints, because Rafa Benitez can make both of them better players with his expert coaching.

Grant has played 200 times for Blackburn with 9 goals and has two years left on his Ewood Park contract.

We are hoping that we can sign our first player this weekend and then have three more come in next week.

Pre-season training starts on Tuesday  at the refurbished Benton Training grounds, which is one reason Benitez is anxious for new players to be coming through the door and have a full pre-season.

Comments welcome.

7 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jun 25, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #1

    Rafa EN por siempre!

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jun 25, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #2

    A article in the Chronicle by mark Douglas reckons that we would not of been able to sign Perez, Mbabu, and any players under the age of 19.

  • Jib

    Jun 25, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #3

    In this interview Sissoko confirms he was unappointed leader of the French legion at SJP.

    He maintains that the physicality of the PL shocked Thauvin and Cabella but they weren’t given enough time to adapt.

  • Jib

    Jun 25, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #4

    Mark Douglas is like you and I operating from a position of not knowing and trying to guess what will happen.
    There are 5 tiers of work permit plus special cases.
    I have a feeling that knowing what a revenue earner the PL is for the exchequer they will allow footy players in under HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) saying they are specialists in their field (field – ha ha – see what I did there )

  • Slank

    Jun 25, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #5

    Charlie in the Gallowgate

    I think there will be changes after the UK leaves the EU for players from EU countries.

    What those changes will be nobody knows, like virtually all things to do with the country.

    I’m guessing that the UK determines the criteria for work permits and as such the FA will have some input as well as the clubs themselves such is the amount of revenue earned for the national especially by the Premier League.

  • Slank

    Jun 25, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #6


    ‘HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) ‘

    Having seen some of our imports from the EU I seriously question the name HSMP.

    Perhaps HSMP should stand for Highly Suspicious Migrant Person.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jun 25, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #7


    sorry should be players under 18′

    You’re right its going to be a confusing picture with so little known about what happens next.

    One theory is that every foreign player will have to go through the process that applies to non-EU players now.

    So young, untested players are out?
    Forget about signing anyone under the age of 18

    How do Newcastle sign Non-EU players?
    At the moment, to sign a non-EU player, Newcastle need Governing Body Endorsement (GBE). Essentially that means they need the FA to endorse their application to get a work permit from the Home Office.

    This can be done one of two ways – either by passing the automatic criteria or by being approved by a three-man panel.

    According to the FA’s own regulations they will automatically grant a GBE if a player has played in the “required percentage” of his countries’ games in the “reference period” (24 months before the application date).

    You qualify automatically if:

    – You play 30% of international games for a nation ranked between 1 and ten in the world

    – You play 45% of international games for a nation ranked between 11 and 20 in the world

    – You play 60% of international games for a nation ranked between 21 and 30 in the world

    – You play 75% of international games for a nation ranked between 31 and 50 in the world


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