Rafa Benitez says that he is having to manage the centre-back situation, with only two senior centre-backs and they are only 21 and 22 years old.

Whilst Jamaal Lascelles (22) and Chancel Mbemba (21) are both popular figures amongst supporters, it is obvious that a more experienced centre-back would be a massive positive to compete with the two of them.

Speaking after the Bohemian FC match, Rafa said ‘We are short of centre-backs and we had to manage that with the minutes and positions’.

Mbemba and Lascelles started the game, with the versatile (can play midfield or centre of defence) Isaac Hayden coming on at half-time for the DR Congo international.

Then with a quarter of an hour left, it was full-back Jesus Gamez who replaced Lascelles.

However, Rafa Benitez says ‘I think we will have somebody soon’.

With less than three weeks until the season kicks off an early buy is needed, with suggestions that this could happen before the next friendly (Doncaster away) on Wednesday night.

Mbemba of course is almost certain to miss a good chunk of matches with the African Cup of Nations finals in the new year, whilst three centre-backs (Coloccini, Taylor, Williamson) have moved on in the last six months without any direct replacement.

With it seeming to be only a case of upping the offer by a million or so, Grant Hanley must surely be still favourite to come in, but something has to give somewhere.

Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:

“I hope so, we are working hard.

“Lee Charnley knows we need bodies to have all of the positions covered.

“We are short of centre-backs and we had to manage that with the minutes and positions.

“It is clear that in some positions we need bodies – I think we will have somebody soon.”

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