Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle’s imminent signing of Javier Manquillo

Javier Manquillo in action for Sunderland last season.
Javier Manquillo in action for Sunderland last season.

Former Sunderland defender Javier Manquillo is set to join Newcastle United – and Rafa Benitez feels his squad is finally taking shape.

The club is set to sign Manquillo and Jacob Murphy.

Manquillo is joining from Atletico Madrid after a year on loan at the Stadium of Light, while Murphy is a £12million capture from Norwich City.

The pair have met up with their new team-mates in Ireland ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Preston North End.

And the double swoop is expected to be confirmed today by United.

“It’s important to have more additions,” said Benitez. “We need to improve the squad.”

It’s important to have more additions. We need to improve the squad.

Rafa Benitez

Benitez said he was confident United owner Mike Ashley would “keep his word” and back him in the transfer market earlier this week.

Newcastle’s manager had been frustrated at what he felt was a lack of progress in the transfer market.

For his part, Benitez believes the promoted club is doing prudent business.

“We’re not signing top-class players in the Premier League, we’re signing the players we can and the players who can do a job for us,” he said.

Manquillo also had a season on loan at Liverpool earlier in his career.

And Benitez feels the 23-year-old’s Premier League experience, and versatility, will prove useful to him in the coming campaign.

Manquillo will compete with DeAndre Yedlin for a place at right-back following the departure of out-of-contract Vurnon Anita.

The Spain Under-21 international can also play at left-back.

Meanwhile, Benitez believes winger Murphy, 22, has the talent, and “character and personality”, needed to play for Newcastsle.

“I’m really pleased with him,” said Benitez, speaking at the launch of the club’s all-black third kit in Dublin’s Sports Direct.

“He has shown character and personality. He has pace. But it is also his desire to play for Newcastle.”