Kieran Trippier on Friday became Newcastle’s first signing under the club’s new Saudi-led ownership, with manager Eddie Howe saying he hopes his arrival will pave the way for more additions to their relegation-threatened squad. The 31-year-old full-back has returned to the Premier League from Atletico Madrid for an undisclosed fee, which is understood to be in the region of more than $16 million in add-ons. The former Tottenham defender has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and his arrival marks the beginning of a new era under Howe, who was appointed as manager at St James’s Park in November.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Cambridge in the third leg, Howe spoke about his club.
“It’s a sign that the club has a big stretch – and I’m not talking financials here,” he said.
“Kieran has come not for the financial benefits of the contract. He has come for the club and the challenge the team is facing at the moment, but also for the long-term vision, so I think it’s a big deal for football.” It’s a club.
“Hopefully with his signing, other players around the world will potentially look up to him and share his dream and his vision. It’s a big deal for us.”
Trippier, who was signed by Howe in 2012 when he was in charge at Burnley, won La Liga with Atletico last season but is enjoying his return to England.
“I am very happy to be joining Newcastle,” he tweeted. “Everyone knows fans are incredibly passionate and I’ll give my best for them. I can’t wait to go to work.”
The defender, capped 35 times by England, could make his debut against League One side Cambridge if the paperwork is completed on time.
Newcastle, who have not won a major trophy since 1969, face a struggle to stay in the Premier League. They are one rung down the table after one win in 19 matches.
But three months after a controversial takeover by a group led by Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund was completed, the club has a chance to splurge on cash.
Newcastle have been linked with a staggering list of potential targets over the past few weeks.
Howe declined to comment on individual players, including Everton’s Lucas Digne and Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who were touted as possible signings, but admitted he is hopeful of further additions.
“There are no guarantees,” the former Bournemouth boss said. “It may seem simple on the outside. It’s very different when you’re on the inside, so believe me, but there’s no promise.”
Any player considering Newcastle will be aware that the club has run into relegation problems, but Howe has signaled his distaste for an escape clause in contracts.
“Offering a relegation clause is a surefire way to potentially bring in players who don’t have the right motivation,” he said. “I want players who are fully committed and have no way out.”
Howe confirmed that forward Callum Wilson had another scan on a calf injury and the results could determine whether he needed to sign a player as cover.
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