Grant Hanley keen on Newcastle move as Blackburn weigh up offers

Blackburn Rovers' Grant Hanley.
Blackburn Rovers' Grant Hanley.
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Grant Hanley is keen to join Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United – but Blackburn Rovers are digging their heels in.

The club remains in talks over a move for the defender, having had three bids rejected.

Blackburn are holding out for more than £6million for the 24-year-old, who is also a target for Norwich City.

United manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful of a breakthrough before Wednesday night’s friendly against Doncaster Rovers.

Newcastle – who beat Bohemian 6-0 in Dublin on Saturday – are short of centre-halves after the summer departures of long-serving pair Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

And Benitez has backed managing director Lee Charnley to conclude a sixth transfer window signing in the coming days.

Asked if he was hopeful of movement before the club’s visit to the Keepmoat Stadium, Benitez said: “I hope so.

“We are working hard. Lee Charnley knows that we need bodies to have all the positions covered.

“We are short of centre-backs. We have to manage the minutes and positions. It’s clear that we need bodies in some positions, and I think we will have someone soon.”

Hanley – who has extensive Championship experience – is understood to be interested in signing for Newcastle, but Blackburn manager Owen Coyle does not want him to leave Ewood Park.

“I’ve said that I don’t want to lose Grant Hanley,” said Coyle. “Clubs keep knocking at our door and making offers.

“Newcastle have made the offers, but a couple of other clubs have intimated they are very interested.

“If those offers come in, we’ll have a look at them as a club, and it will be up to the owners to decide if they’re going to take them.

“I’ll just control what I control and take it from there.”

Meanwhile, two of United’s summer signings scored against Bohemian.

Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle found the net, while Matz Sels, Isaac Hayden and Jesus Gamez were also involved at Dalymount Park, where Newcastle were backed by 400 fans.

“It’s always when you have new players coming in and scoring,” said Benitez.

“I think it’s a confidence boost for them. They can keep working. I’m really pleased. I’ve seen a lot of good play, but also some mistakes.”

Benitez – who was keen for a low-key pre-season campaign ahead of the club’s Championship campaign – was pleased with the week his squad spent in Ireland.

“I think, normally, when you go to a training camp with two sessions a day, you improve the team spirit,” he said.

“Everything was quite perfect. Everything was good.”