Newcastle United briefing: Defensive deal edges closer, Mike Ashley's relationship with Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez could finally get his man this week.

Newcastle United are locked in talks with Eibar over a move for Florian Lejeune.

And reports in Spain suggest a deal is close.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley stands firm on cash pledge as Newcastle close in on targets

Lee Charnley is under pressure to deliver the signings that manager Benitez wants ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

United's managing director has been working on a number of proposed deals ahead of the start of pre-season training on Monday.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

Here's your daily briefing:

Over the line?

This one has dragged on. And on. And on.

But the deal could be dragged over the line in the coming days.

Martin Skrtel and Papiss Cisse

Martin Skrtel and Papiss Cisse

Newcastle have always known Lejeune's price – the Eibar defender has a 8.8million release clause – but the club didn't push through a deal earlier in the summer transfer window after early talks.

However, reports in Spain claim a deal is finally close.

Meanwhile, Benfica could yet drop their £17.5million asking price for midfielder Andreas Samaris.

United had backed away from a move after being told of his fee.

House on fire

Rafa Benitez hasn't met owner Mike Ashley too many times.

But the pair "get on like a house on fire", according to club legend and football development manager Peter Beardsley.

“He’s had a chat with Mike. Him and Mike get on like a house on fire. There’s no doubt about that.

“Everybody wants to know what goes on. They know what’s going on. That’s all that matters.”

Let's hope Beardsley's right.

Turkish delight

Newcastle have been linked with a move for former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, now at Fenerbahce.

But Skrtel – who played under Benitez at Anfield – says he is settled at the Turkish club.

Skrtel, however, has been quoted by Turkish media on the possibility of a move away from Istanbul.

The 32-year-old said: "I don’t want to leave. I have settled in, and want to remain at Fenerbahce.”

Meanwhile, Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross, also linked with a move to United, is still to sign a new contract at the club.

Shawcross's deal expires this summer.

And finally...

Newcastle have made one big signing – Ed Sheeran.

All is explained here.

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