Friday afternoon has seen claims that Real Madrid star Alvaro Arbeloa could be on his way to Newcastle, as the first Rafa Benitez signing at St James Park.

Arbeloa has had an incredible career, winning La Liga, the Champions League and the World Cup.

The 33 year old right-back is out of contract at the end of the month and The Mail state that their information is that the Real Madrid defender is under discussion at St James Park.

If the signing became reality, it would represent the first real significant evidence that Rafa Benitez is truly in charge of transfer policy now at Newcastle, with age (experience!!) no longer a barrier.

Steven Taylor was confirmed as leaving Newcastle earlier today and both Fabricio Coloccini & Daryl Janmaat are also heavily expected to follow.

Having somebody as experienced as Alvaro Arbeloa to help bring along players such as Lascelles, Mbemba, Mbabu and others, would be invaluable.

Rafa Benitez signed the Spanish international when at Liverpool and then managed him this season at Real Madrid, although he was restricted to only nine appearances this season in the final year of his contract.

With over 280 games for Real Madrid and more than 50 caps for Spain, it would be a remarkable first signing for Rafa and a reminder of his pulling power as a respected manager both in the UK and on the continent.