The Saddlers chief has already made four additions this summer, but is still in need of reinforcements ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
A centre-back is top of the manager’s priority list. But he also revealed he is closing in on a loan signing.
“I’m close to a possible loan,” Keates said. “I’ve had a phone call about it recently and I’d like to think in the next few days something might materialise.
“It’s something I’d like to get done.
“Things have been slow this summer but that’s not just for us, it’s for the majority of football clubs. But as soon as one or two things start moving, I expect it to pick up. A lot of clubs are back this week. We have been back a few days. A few are back in today. And I think a lot of players will be sat at home and will realise it’s not as easy as they think to get a football club. I’m having a few phone calls and chasing a few things. But football clubs get the power back next week.”
Keates confirmed he is keen to strengthen in defence with Jon Guthrie the only experienced centre-half at the club.
“It is a priority,” he said. “It’s easy to highlight that. A lot of phone calls are being made but players are still assessing their options.”
The boss also revealed he has held positive talks with Joe Edwards as the midfielder considers a contract offer from the club.
Walsall’s vice-skipper missed the last 13 games of the 2017/18 campaign after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Now out of contract, the 27-year-old isn’t expected to be fit until November.
But he joined up with his Walsall team mates for the start of pre-season training on Wednesday.
And Keates is hopeful he will soon put pen to paper on a new deal at the Banks’s Stadium.
“I have had good chats with Joe and I am optimistic something will be done,” the boss added.