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By ESPN Staff
Jul 23, 2006

Duff finally completes Newcastle move

Newcastle have completed the signing of winger Damien Duff from Chelsea.

The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international passed a medical on Tyneside, while the first team were on their way back from Norway after beating Lillestrom in a UEFA Cup qualifying round tie on Saturday evening.

Duff has signed a five-year contract at St James' Park, with the fee undisclosed but understood to be in the region of £10million. The fee for Duff had already been agreed between the clubs, and Duff had settled on personal terms after holding talks with Newcastle officials.

Duff helped Chelsea win the Premiership twice, but the competition for places after Michael Ballack's arrival meant he would not be guaranteed first-team football at Stamford Bridge in the coming campaign.

At Newcastle, that should not be a worry, as he has been bought to inject pace, invention and quality into the Magpies midfield.

Earlier in the day, and before the medical had been completed, Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder told Setanta Sports 2: 'I can't tell you how pleased I am about getting a player of that quality.

'I would think it will excite our fans as well. I played for Newcastle - admittedly a long time ago - but we had the likes of Chrissy Waddle playing in that team that I played in and (the fans) love ball-players who can go past players and get crosses in and Damien is that type of player.'

Roeder, who revealed Duff had been given 'rave reviews' from international team-mates Shay Given and Stephen Carr as well as former Chelsea colleague Scott Parker, hopes the capture of Duff will only be the start of a busy summer of transfer activity at St James' Park.

Duff will be unveiled at St James' Park on Monday afternoon.

'Then we can start talking about the next player,' said Roeder. 'But we've got a list of players now that we want to start working our way through.'

Duff was also wanted by Tottenham.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell Duff - a £17million signing from Blackburn in 2003 - to Tottenham for £7million but declared themselves ready to offload the wide man at the right price.

The move is one which will excite Newcastle's fans, who have seen captain Alan Shearer retire and £17million striker Michael Owen head off for another long spell in the treatment room.