Rafa Benitez responds to questions about Newcastle's interest in Chelsea's Kenedy

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United are making "progress" in the transfer market.

Benitez was asked about the club's interest in taking Chelsea winger Kenedy on loan this afternoon.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Premier League season-opener against Tottenham Hotspur, United's manager said: "We have some targets, but we have also a lot of players in the team, so we need to find this balance.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley reveals why he can't back Rafa Benitez with more cash at Newcastle

"It's not ideal, but this is what we have to do.

“We are progressing with some targets. It's not the players we want necessarily, it's the players that we can with the characteristics we are looking for.

Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles

“If we can do that, we will improve the squad and hopefully it will be better."

Pressed on the club's interest in 21-year-old Kenedy, Benitez added: "We're progressing with some (targets), and maybe he is one of them."

Arsenal striker Lucas Perez is another target.

Benitez said: “He's a player that I like, and that's it."

Meanwhile, Jamaal Lascelles will continue as United captain in the Premier League.

The defender took the skipper's armband a year ago and guided the club to the Championship title.

"I'm happy to keep as Jamaal as captain, because he was good last season," said Benitez.

"When you have new players, it's important to have someone who knows what it means to be the captain of this team, what it means to help the others to settle in and what it means to push everyone to give everything in every game.

"I think he was great last season, and hopefully he will continue to be a good captain for us in the future."

Lascelles, 23, said: "
I feel like I definitely have learnt a lot over the last year, how to manage players.

"I'm still improving, still learning and I'll keep listening as well."

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