The Grant Hanley transfer is looking a bit of a hard slog compared to the way the five Newcastle signings arrived earlier this month/late June.

However, it does appear at last that it is crawling towards the finishing line.

Media in both the north east and north west report that a deal is now close, with the two clubs set finally to reach agreement.

The Chronicle claim that one major reason for the delay has been Blackburn deciding to up their original valuation of £6m on the defender, moving even further away from Newcastle’s opening bid of £3.5m and then a revised £4.5m.

A major difference to the other five completed deals, is that Grant Hanley is Captain and arguably Rovers’ best player, with a contract that runs up until summer 2018. Whereas with the signings so far, they were relatively happy to do deals, selling squad players in three cases, Matz Sels seizing his chance in England, whilst Ritchie had yet to agree a new contract.

Tuesday night saw Blackburn play their latest friendly against Rochdale and for the third time in a row his name was missing from the team, a ‘knee injury’ once again claimed to be the reason but a widespread belief that he is being looked after in anticipation of a move.

After the 1-1 draw, it was interesting that Blackburn boss Owen Coyle didn’t mention his Captain when talking about possible injured players returning at the weekend for their next friendly outing.

Owen Coyle:

“For us it was a great working exercise, so delighted for the players that took part and hopefully moving into Saturday we will have one or two coming back.

“Shane Duffy, Corry Evans…we’ll look to see if they play some part in that. Ben Marshall, Craig Conway should both be fit as well and that gives us a few other options.”