Sunday 25 September 2016

Wijnaldum to bring fighting spirit

Published 11/07/2015 | 10:41

Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has signed a five-year deal at Newcastle
Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has signed a five-year deal at Newcastle

Georginio Wijnaldum has promised Newcastle fans he is a "fighter" after completing his move to Tyneside.

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The 24-year-old Netherlands international midfielder has become Steve McClaren's first signing as Newcastle boss for a fee understood to be in the region of 20 million euros, around £14.4million.

Wijnaldum, who has signed a five-year deal at St James' Park, is the third most expensive player in Newcastle history after Michael Owen and Alan Shearer and plans to show that his transfer from Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven represents value for money.

"I'm feeling great because when I came to the club everyone was really kind, beautiful people and I'm already feeling at home," Wijnaldum told Press Association Sport.

"I have a lot of confidence that I can make the fans happy and that's what I want to do.

"I think I can bring goals and passion also, as I work hard and always want to do my best.

"Even if it looks like we're not going to win I always try to find a solution to win games. I'm a fighter."

Everton were also keen on the former Feyenoord player who has won 19 caps for his country and impressed as the Netherlands finished third at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

But Wijnaldum said that his mind was made up as Newcastle expressed their interest in him at an early stage and he even admitted to picking up on the local lingo already.

"Newcastle showed very early they were interested in me," Wijnaldum said.

"In the negotiations they showed good things and that's why I chose them.

"I've spoken to someone who speaks a little bit of Geordie - but I must learn more!"

Wijnaldum said McClaren had tried to sign him when he was the coach of Twente in the Dutch Eredivise between 2008 and 2010 and the former England manager feels the Dutchman's versatility will suit Newcastle down to the ground.

"It's difficult coming to the Premier League from any other league, you have to get used to the tempo and the physicality," McClaren said.

"But Georginio has got physique, he's played football at the highest level and he's played in the Champions League so he should adapt quickly.

"When I first came across him at Feyenoord he was a number 10 who scored goals. At PSV he's moved further back to a six but he's a box-to-box player.

"He's got the capacity for that. He can play in all positions and he can create and score, so I think Georginio will add quality to the squad and is the perfect midfield player for us."

Newcastle head out to the United States on Sunday for fixtures against Club Atlas, Sacramento Republic and the Portland Timbers and McClaren hopes Wijnaldum is the first of a series of signings as he seeks to bolster a squad which struggled to retain its Barclays Premier League status last season.

Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is a serious target with efforts to land QPR's Charlie Austin having so far come to nothing, while Wolfsburg frontman Bas Dost has also been in their sights for some time.

"We like to think there will be more signings," McClaren said.

"We can't say when but getting the first one through the door is always the best.

"We've done it this time and we're working behind the scenes now in anticipation that more will come through the door."

Press Association

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