By support

26th Dec, 2016 | 11:11am

Rafa Benitez shares his January transfer plans for Newcastle

By Amir Mir

Rafa Benitez has revealed that he will “try to see” if he can improve his Newcastle squad when the January transfer window opens next month.

The Spaniard also stated that he has taken into account that some players will be competing in the African Cup of Nations between mid-January and the start of February.

Benitez’ side top the Championship table going into the busy festive period. They are one point ahead of second-placed Brighton.

Following relegation last season, the Magpies have started the first half of the Championship campaign in positive fashion, winning 16 of their 22 matches.

With the transfer window nearing, Benitez is aware that strengthing his side could further boost their chances of promotion next May.

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This was Benitez’ response when asked about his plans for January.

“My feelings are that our players know we have players going to the African Cup of Nations,” said Benitez, as quoted by the Chronicle. “We will try to see if we can improve a little bit in some areas.

“At the same time, we have a lot of confidence in the team and the squad. The only thing you can’t control is injuries. In terms of the balance, we are more or less happy with that.

“Maybe you can bring in somebody else. I am keeping an eye on all the players on loan just in case somebody can be a good addition. You try to control it.

“At the same time you can see the market but still I’d say I am happy with the squad.”

Newcastle spent heavily during the summer transfer window, including purchasing striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace for a fee of £10 million.

As a result, the former Premier League player has topped the scoring charts in the second tier this season.

He has scored 17 goals from his 18 league games, with Brighton’s Glenn Murray next on the list with 14 goals to his name.

Gayle will now be preparing for a busy and important festive period with the league leaders taking on promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day at St James’ Park.

They will then face Nottingham Forest for their final game of 2016, before starting off the New Year with a trip to Blackburn.

In other Newcastle transfer news, these are the three best January transfer deals for the club.