Rafa Benitez looking to 'balance' his Newcastle squad in January transfer window

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez has a clear idea of where he wants to strengthen his Newcastle United squad.

The club is looking at his options ahead of next month's transfer window.

United manager Benitez – whose second-placed side take on Birmingham City at St James's Park in the Championship this afternoon – is looking to "balance" the team.

READ MORE: Rafa Benitez gives contract update on Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran at Newcastle

Benitez is also mindful that the club could lose four players to the African Cup of Nations next month, while three players – Yoan Gouffran, Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote – are out of contract next summer.

Asked if he had a "clear idea" of what the club needed in January, Benitez said: “I know what we need, but it’s too early.

"We have to concentrate on the games and keep working in the same way to see if we can get the targets I have. You have to wait.

“I am really pleased with the squad, but we know we have players who are at the African Cup of Nations and others who are out of contract, so we have to try and balance the team as much as we can just in case."

Follow NUFC writer Miles Starforth on Twitter here