Newcastle looking at Championship star for second-tier experience

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While Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United side currently boasts a number of attacking players who could quite comfortably slot into most Premier League sides, it’s at the back where quality and depth seems to be lacking.

And in his attempt to take the Magpies straight back to the Premier League, Benitez is now overseeing a £5.5m bid for Blackburn defender Grant Hanley which has this morning been accepted by Rovers.

The news will be music to Newcastle fans’ ears following the loss of Fabricio Coloccini, as Hanley certainly has the ability to step into the Argentine’s old boots, missing only two of Blackburn’s league games last campaign.

The Magpies are also without Steven Taylor this season, who allowed his contract to run out at the end of last month.

And this transfer will represent something of a coup for the north-east outfit following interest in the Rovers captain from fellow suitors Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday.

The 24-year old has already represented Blackburn on 182 occasions since 2010, including 31 Premier League appearances.

Having received his first full international call up aged just 20, the 6ft 3in centre-half has since represented Scotland 23 times.

He’s no stranger to a goal or two either, with eight to his name in a Blackburn shirt and one for his country.

Benitez has already added Arsenal’s Isaac Hayden and Atletico Madrid’s Jesus Gamez to his defensive unit, it’s clear the Spanish boss is aware of the areas that need strengthening.

Hanley is likely to pair up with Jamaal Lascelles who represented Newcastle 18 times in last year’s Premier League, scoring twice.

And should that pairing start the Magpies’ opening game of this season away at Fulham, the 13/5 on Newcastle to win to nil would be hard to ignore.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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