By Dominic Toner

Newcastle are hopeful of completing the signings of Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark in the next 24 hours, according to a report.

The Chronicle claim that the north-east giants are closing in on a double signing for the Hull midfielder and Aston Villa centre-back as Rafael Benitez aims to reinforce his squad ahead of the start of his team’s Championship campaign this weekend.

It is said that sources in Birmingham say that Newcastle made an approach for Clark, 26, on Monday and want him to join the club’s push for promotion.

This came after the Magpies triggered a minimum fee release clause in Diame’s contract on Sunday night.

Clark also has an escape clause in his current deal with Villa, and despite having four years left to run on his contract, he could leave the club that were relegated with the Magpies last season.

Clark is a graduate of the Villa academy and has racked up over 100 top-flight appearances for the club since making his debut as teenager in 2009.

Diame will be regarded as a like-for-like replacement for Sissoko, who has attracted interest from a number of leading clubs, including Real Madrid.

The Senegal international, 29, has plenty of experience of English football having starred for Wigan, West Ham and Hull after moving to the Premier League from Rayo Vallecano in 2009.

Diame scored 10 goals in 34 Championship starts (plus an additional seven as a sub) for Hull as they were promoted last season.

The club have already signed Premier League stars Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle for around £10million each, centre-back Grant Hanley joined for £5.5million, Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels put pen to paper for £5million, while midfield enforcer Isaac Hayden and Champions League defender Jesus Gamez have beefed up the squad.

In other Newcastle transfer news, a star will leave for £30m-plus and four more signings will join within weeks.