Rafa Benitez hopeful of transfer breakthrough ahead of Newcastle's FA Cup tie against Chelsea

Rafa Benitez wants to see a new signing arrive at Newcastle United before the club's FA Cup tie against Chelsea.
Isaac Hayden, left, and Rafa BenitezIsaac Hayden, left, and Rafa Benitez
Isaac Hayden, left, and Rafa Benitez

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

Owner Mike Ashley last week gave Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley the “green light” to pursue their transfer targets.

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And Benitez – whose side was beaten 3-1 by Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday – is ready for an “important week” off the pitch at the club, which takes on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a fourth-round FA Cup tie.

“It’s going to be a very important week for us,” said Benitez.

“We’ve been working very hard to make sure we have the names who can help the team to stay up.

“We have the names. We gave a list to the owner. Now, it’s just a case of waiting to see if we can do what we have to do.

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“They know the names. They know what they have to do, and it doesn’t matter if it’s loans or permanent signings, we need the bodies to give the team the ability to manage.”

Benitez is desperate to add Premier League experience to his squad.

“This team was in the Championship and got promoted, and we don’t have much experience of the Premier League,” said Benitez.

“We need players with quality who can give us something different or experience. We’ll see how many we can get.

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“I expect someone, but we will see. I don’t know how many we can get. It’s a little bit late now.

“If they have experience in the Premier League, it’ll be easier for us.

“But, if not, they have to have different characteristics and give us something that we don’t have at the moment.”

Loan target Kenedy could face Newcastle in the FA Cup tie.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is not yet ready to loan out the winger, who played in the last round of the cup.

Asked if he expected Kenedy to play against United, Benitez said: “Maybe. It’s not up to us.”