Friday morning has seen claims that Derby County have bid £4m for Grant Hanley.
According to The Mirror, Gary Rowett sees the Newcastle defender as an ideal signing to help remodel his team and especially his defence, ahead of a promotion push next season.
Arriving 10 months ago, Rafa had to make at least three bids before landing the player for a reported fee of £5,5m.
Grant Hanley was the sixth signing for the United boss, with Ciaran Clark another centre-back later recruited as one of the eventual 12 new boys.
Whilst Clark proved to be a key player and arguably Newcastle’s player of the season, for Hanley though it was a different story.
Struggling to make any impact, Hanley only got five starts and these were largely due to injuries.
He actually started the first game of the season, playing alongside Jamaal Lascelles in the poor 1-0 defeat to Fulham – Grant Hanley then having to wait another six months before his next Championship start – ironically against Derby County in a 1-0 win at St James Park.
United Captain Lascelles was probably Hanley’s biggest problem. The two of them lacking pace and never ideal to play both together.
Hanley will surely move on this summer, whether to Derby or elsewhere,
One of the players brought in as insurance against injuries by Rafa Benitez, just because you don’t have to use them (cash in the insurance) it doesn’t mean he/they was a bad buy.
At 25 he still has his best years ahead of him and Rafa will be adding a few more million to his transfer pot this summer.
Official Newcastle United Statement – 21 July 2016:
‘Newcastle United have completed the signing of defender Grant Hanley from Blackburn Rovers.
The 24-year-old Scotland international has put pen to paper on a five-year deal at St. James’ Park and arrives for an undisclosed fee.
Hanley came through the ranks at Blackburn before being handed his debut at the age of 18 in a Premier League fixture at Aston Villa in May 2010.
The centre-back remained at Ewood Park following Rovers’ relegation from the top flight and was appointed captain in January 2014.
In six years at the Lancashire club he made 201 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine goals.
“I’m over the moon and delighted to be here,” said Hanley.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to come and play at such a big club and one that I couldn’t turn down.
“It is an exciting step in my career but it doesn’t stop there. This is just the start and I am looking forward to helping Newcastle get back into the Premier League.”
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez added: “I am very pleased to bring Grant Hanley to our project to add his hard work and potential to our squad.
“It was clear that we needed another central defender and we were seeking someone with good experience in the Championship.
“Grant is a young player with a lot of ambition to improve and keep growing with us. He is also a strong defender, fast and with personality, a player that surely will increase competitiveness in his position.”