Rafa Benitez locked in transfer stand-off with Mike Ashley

Sir John Hall sold up to Mike Ashley 11 years ago

GETTY Sir John Hall sold up to Mike Ashley 11 years ago

However, while Benitez may be prepared to do business with some of his fringe players - Jack Colback is perhaps the most high-profile - he has no intention of cashing in on men he believes can aid the club's cause.

Newcastle had created a series of first-half chances, but they couldn't find a way past Lukasz Fabianski.

"That is nearly impossible in January".

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has yet to sell
GETTY Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has yet to sell

Newcastle have been linked with moves for plenty of strikers already, but with the club facing such an uncertain future with regards to their ownership, it will be hard for Rafa to attract top level players to St James' Park this month. I have heard people talking about our players, but we do not have any offers.

Progress on incoming signings remains painfully slow, with a loan deal for Chelsea midfielder Kenedy now the brightest prospect, and in the meantime the manager is concentrating only on today's home clash with Swansea and the task of easing the club further clear of the drop zone.

It is understood that the Magpies have £10million to sign a new goalkeeper this month, so may have to enter some tough negotiations with Napoli in order to lower their valuation of Reina. He (Ashley) knows he has to improve the team so that we have the quality which allows us to stay in the Premier League.

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But on a day when defeat was simply not an option, they fought back to snatch a 1-1 draw which at least prevented bottom-of-the table Swansea from collecting three points for just the third time in 15 attempts.

The former Sheffield Wednesday coach will need to assess both Renato Sanches and Tammy Abraham before kick-off as they try to overcome hamstring and hip injuries respectively.

"But I was quite happy with the reaction of the team".

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"Let's see game by game".

"When you are not winning a game like this one, so important, any player has to be disappointed if they do not continue playing", said Benitez.

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