Rafa Benitez looking to trim his Newcastle squad ahead of more summer arrivals

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez is looking to balance his Newcastle United squad – and move a clutch of players on, writes Miles Starforth.

The club has signed EIGHT players so far this summer – and Rafa Benitez is hopeful of more arrivals.

And Everton’s Brendan Galloway could join ahead of Saturday’s home game against Huddersfield Town.

United manager Benitez does not need to sell to buy, but he is keen to work with a more manageable squad.

A number of fringe players could leave on loan or on permanent deals this month as Benitez looks to focus on the core group of players he feels can make a contribution in the Championship.

Forward Siem de Jong has been linked a reunion with his brother Luuk at PSV Eindhoven.

A loan with a view to buy has been mooted in Holland given de Jong’s injury record over the past two years.

Defender Kevin Mbabu could also be loaned out for first-team experience.

Mbabu – who signed a new two-year deal at St James’s Park in May – travelled with Benitez’s first-team squad to Ireland for the club’s pre-season training camp.

But the 21-year-old was forced to return to Tyneside early with a knock and went on to play for the Under-23s in their warm-up games after returning to fitenss.

Fit-again striker Emmanuel Riviere – who missed Newcastle’s pre-season campaign through injury – is not in Benitez’s plans, while forward Yoan Gouffran also faces an uncertain future at the club.

Gouffran has another year left on his contract and is not understood to be looking for a move.

Sammy Ameobi, another of Benitez’s forwards, made his first appearance of the campaign in the Under-23s’ 3-2 friendly win over Barnsley on Monday.

Ameobi, 24, spent last season on loan at Cardiff City and his future looks to lie away from St James’s Park.

The highest-profile departure, however, is likely to be Real Madrid target Moussa Sissoko, though the club has not yet received a bid for the £35million-rated midfielder.

Meanwhile, Benitez has backed the Gallowgate Flags initiative which will see around 500 flags, designed and funded by fans, waved before kick-off against Huddersfield.

A statement from the group said: “Gallowgate Flags has formed as part of a break from the pessimism of recent years and a desire to get behind the manager and his players in order to propel United back to the Premier League.”

Supporters are being urging to turn up early for the game, with the display set to start at 2.30pm.

Benitez said: “I know it will make the noise, and the atmosphere in St James’s Park even more special than usual, and that will be fantastic.