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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 2, 2008

Magpies complete deal for winger Gutierrez

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan has signalled his intention to bring the thrills back to St James' Park by making Argentina winger Jonas Gutierrez his first summer signing.

Jonas, nicknamed 'Spiderman' because of his distinctive goal celebrations, has joined the Magpies from Spanish side Real Mallorca on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old - he celebrates his 25th birthday on Saturday - will join up with his new team-mates after a short break following his post-season exertions with his country, which ended with a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Brazil on June 18.

Keegan will hope Jonas' arrival is the first of several over the next few weeks as he attempts to drag the club back into the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League table.

However, it is understood the right-sided midfielder's capture does not mean the Magpies are ready to re-think their decision to keep James Milner at St James' Park amid persistent links with both Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Keegan was delighted to have made the breakthrough after weeks of foraging by executive director (football) Dennis Wise and vice-president (player recruitment) Tony Jimenez.

He said: 'Jonas is a wonderful signing for us. I know a lot of other clubs have been interested in him. He will be a terrific addition to the squad.

'He is an exciting player and I'm sure our fans will enjoy watching him.'

Jonas, who began his career in Argentina with Velez Sarsfield, is determined to prove himself in front of fans who have been waiting patiently for new signings to arrive.

He said: 'I cannot tell you how excited I am to be joining Newcastle United.

'The Premier League is a great place to play and I cannot wait to meet my new team-mates and prove myself to the Newcastle United fans.'

Transfer dealings are rarely straightforward in the modern era, but the announcement of Jonas' capture came just 24 hours after Mallorca revealed they had launched a claim for compensation of 15million euros.

The claim is over the player's earlier decision to unilaterally terminate his contract with them under Article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations.

Sporting director Nando Pons told a press conference: 'We are asking for 15million euros for the unilateral termination of the contract without just cause.

'It's a legal matter. We are not happy about it in the slightest, but Mallorca has to protect its interests.'

Newcastle are due to meet islanders, who have held talks with former Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd over a possible takeover, in the Mallorca Summer Cup on Sunday, August 3.

Today's news came as a boost for the Tyneside outfit after they hit the headlines for the wrong reasons once again yesterday when midfielder Joey Barton was handed a four-month suspended sentence for assaulting former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

His future will be discussed once he is released from a six-month jail sentence imposed for a separate offence, but the fans were able to turn their attention to more positive matters with Jonas' capture.

Keegan targeted attacking players during his first spell at the helm, signing the likes of Peter Beardsley, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Faustino Asprilla and Alan Shearer to produce a style of football which delighted Tyneside and the rest of the country.

He promised to bring that excitement back to St James' on his return to the club in January and although he has had to remain patient as owner Mike Ashley attempts to balance the books, he will hope to build upon his first major signing.

The South American, who had previously been linked with both Portsmouth and Manchester City, will be the latest man from that continent to try his luck at Newcastle.

Some of his predecessors have not fared as well as they might have hoped, with Argentinians Christian Bassedas and Daniel Cordone and Paraguayan Diego Gavilan struggling to make an impact.

Colombian Asprilla in flashes and Chilean midfielder Clarence Acuna were more successful, but Peruvian Nolberto Solano proved a major hit on Tyneside in two spells with the club which originally brought him to England during the summer of 1998.

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