Rafa Benitez responds to questions about Newcastle’s remaining transfer business

Fernando Forestieri, right
Fernando Forestieri, right
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Rafa Benitez is hopeful of a breakthrough this week as Newcastle United look to put their losing start to the Championship season behind them.

Benitez’s side were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield Town at St James’s Park on Saturday.

And the defeat underlined the need for the club, which has already signed eight senior players this summer, to land another striker before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Benitez – whose side take on Reading at home on Wednesday night – admitted last week that his squad is still short of a front man.

Striker Fernando Forestieri refused to play for Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.

However, it is not clear whether Newcastle will firm up their interest in the 26-year-old, who scored 15 Championship goals last season and netted another on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Benitez, without the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic for two more games, is also looking for a winger this month.

The club has moved on from Anthony Knockaert, who is set to stay at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Asked about the need for more signings, Newcastle manager Benitez said: “We have to keep looking for players that can help the team to grow and make us better for the rest of the season.”

Benitez is keen to move on a number of high-earning players, including Emmanuel Riviere, Yoan Gouffran and Haris Vuckic, who are not in his plans.

We have to keep looking for players that can help the team to grow.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle, however, do not need to sell to buy, having already sold Georginio Wijnaldum, Papiss Cisse and Remy Cabella. Florian Thauvin has also left on loan.

Forestieri refused travel to Carrow Road, where Wednesday were held to a goalless draw by Norwich City.

However, the club insist that Forestieri – who has three more years on his Hillsborough contract – is not for sale.

Carlos Carvalhal, Wednesday’s manager, said: “The chairman doesn’t want to sell any player. That’s what he has told me. I can’t tell you more than this.

“Fernando has a contract for three years. He belongs to us. We don’t want to sell any player.”

Meanwhile, Knockaert spoke about his future after scoring in Brighton’s 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the Amex Stadium on Friday night.

The 24-year-old said: “I feel very happy here, so if I need to stay I will stay.

“I know how much I love the club, and they’ve been brilliant with me since I’ve been here.

“I am totally focused with the team and I have been all the time. There is no way the Newcastle bid distracted me. I love this team.”