Newcastle’s transfer business may go do last minute as Rafa Benitez chases midfielder and winger

Rafa Benitez and Andros Townsend

Rafa Benitez and Andros Townsend

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Rafa Benitez has admitted that Newcastle United’s search for reinforcements could go to the wire.

The Championship club is yet to make a breakthrough in this month’s transfer window.

Benitez is keen to sign a midfielder and a winger before Tuesday night’s deadline.

Second-placed Newcastle – who made a £30million-plus profit on player trading last summer – have been scouring the loan market.

“Obviously, we know what we want,” said Benitez, whose side take on Oxford United in the FA Cup this afternoon.

“Can we do it at the last minute? Maybe. Would it be ideal? No. Obviously, for me, it would have been better to have players here on January 1, but we couldn’t do it.

“If we can do something that really we need even on the last day, fine.

“I would like to do it before. If we can do it on Monday or Sunday instead of Tuesday, that will be much better.”

Andros Townsend is one target, but Crystal Palace are only prepared to sell the winger, who joined them from United last summer in a £13million deal.

Newcastle have been looking at other potential loan options, though Leganes midfielder Gabriel is not a target.

Benitez refused to discuss the club’s targets ahead the Oxford game, though he admitted the club needs to “balance” it’s squad.

Asked about the club’s interest in Townsend, he said: “We don’t talk about names.

“The reality is it is very easy to see what we are looking for and what is available in the market. We are trying to do what we need to do to balance the team.

“We are so close that it is just to do a couple of things that will improve a good squad, because the team is doing well, the players are working so hard and doing so well.

“At the same time, you can say ‘maybe we don’t need (more players)’.

“Yes, we need something because you have injuries and you have problems. It’s important that you have the balance that will allow you to approach any game until the end of the season without this risk.

“Still I have confidence that it’s so obvious, we will do something.”

Benitez – who feels there is an “obvious” need for investment this month – had hoped for a breakthrough this week.

He added: “We are in the same position in terms of we are working hard with some names.

“Still, depending on different things, I have confidence until January 31 we can do something, but it’s more or less the same.”