By Harvey Byrne

Blackburn defender Grant Hanley is close to making a move to St James’ Park, according to a report.

The Chronicle’s chief sports writer Lee Ryder claims on his Twitter page that a deal is “close to being done” for the 24-year-old centre-back.

The Magpies have had several offers for the defender rejected by his club, as Blackburn held out for £8million for the player.

Sky Sports reported on their website on Wednesday that a fee of £5.5million has been agreed between the two clubs and he will now travel to Tyneside for a medical.

ood that the north east club have had a breakthrough in securing the signature of their long-term target.

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Former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez is on the lookout for new defenders after the departures of long-serving centre-back’s Fabio Coloccini and Steven Taylor from the club this summer.

It is believed that the Spanish boss has pinpointed Scotland international Hanley as the man to replace the two outgoing stars.

Bentiez will want to make a swift transfer as he prepares for the forthcoming Championship season with Newcastle travelling to Fulham on August 5.

The Toon conceded 65 goals last term as they were relegated into the second tier of English football for the second time in seven years.

Benitez has already completed the signings of defensive duo Matz Sels and Jesus Gamez this summer, as well as Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle further up the pitch.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies have delivered a warning to Premier League big-boys Liverpool by insisting that they won’t sell Georginio Wijnaldum for less than he is worth.