Viduka signs two-year deal with Newcastle
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce this afternoon clinched the first signing of his reign when he landed striker Mark Viduka. The 31-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the option of a third after passing a medical in London earlier today. Allardyce travelled south to meet the out-of-contract Viduka as he flew in from a family holiday with the player keen to tie up his future before joining up with the Australia squad for their Asia Cup campaign. Viduka told the club's official website: 'I am over the moon. I am really happy. 'The main thing that attracted me to the club was that it is moving in the right direction. 'I think a new era is about to start. Sam Allardyce has come in and if we can get success then it will be something special.' Asked what persuaded him St James' Park was the place to be, he replied: 'The size of the club. 'The potential here is enormous and I am really pleased to be part of it. 'It is definitely one of the biggest clubs in the country. 'Talking to Sam was a big turning point for me. I really wanted to hear what Sam's plans were for the new season and what players he was looking to bring in, and his answers matched with what I was thinking myself. 'I want to win things and Newcastle United is a club that has all the ingredients to do that, especially with Sam coming in.' Viduka's capture is a major coup for the Magpies, who have finally got their man at the third time of asking following two rejected approaches during Glenn Roeder's time at the club. Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate had been desperate to keep him at the Riverside Stadium after he finished the last campaign as leading scorer on 19 goals. However, the Teessiders decided not to tie up the Melbourne-born frontman last summer and were forced to play a waiting game as he exercised his right to speak to other clubs during the final six months of his deal. Southgate was adamant he would not put any pressure on his star striker as Viduka considered his options but, despite personal pleas from the manager, chairman Steve Gibson, chief executive Keith Lamb and team-mate Jonathan Woodgate, the 31-year-old decided his future lay elsewhere. Allardyce was thrilled to have landed a man who will join what he believes will be a lethal quartet of strikers along with record signing Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi. He said: 'We are getting a player with vast experience in Premiership football and a natural goalscorer. 'He has the size and stature to lead our front line and is direct competition for Shola Ameobi, who is fit again now. 'It is common knowledge that every manager in the game wants two players for every position, and that is what we will have at Newcastle United next season as far as our strikers are concerned. 'It is a great start for us as we already have Oba Martins and Michael Owen who can play off a big man. It is all looking very exciting.' The Viduka deal may have been done and dusted within a day, but Newcastle's move for Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton is still to be completed. The 24-year-old agreed the £5.5million switch earlier this week, but an administrative hitch is holding up its completion. However, Allardyce is equally excited at the prospect of working with a man he is confident will also make a major contribution as long as he manages to keep his temperament in check. He said: 'Now we have Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Oba Martins, who all score goals, and Joey usually chips in with seven or eight a season from midfield, so we will really be expecting to improve our goals tally next season.' The Magpies have wasted little time in pushing through their summer recruitment plans, and Allardyce has confirmed he is also pursuing out-of-contract Bolton defender Tal Ben Haim.