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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 17, 2008

Guthrie targets Euro place for Newcastle

Newcastle United new boy Danny Guthrie has insisted Europe is not beyond the Magpies.

The 21-year-old former Liverpool trainee has been training with his team-mates on Tyneside since completing his move last week, and is relishing the prospect of fighting his way into contention for the opening Premier League clash with champions Manchester United.

He is well aware of the club's wait for a trophy, which now extends to 39 years, but insists that is no reason not to aim high.

Asked about his ambitions, Guthrie said: 'For me, just to get as many games as I can; for the team, if we get a good start, I don't think Europe is out of the way for us with the players we have.

'The manager has had a good pre-season to get who he wants in and the players are really working hard in training. A European place is realistic.

'It's notorious, everyone knows we have under-achieved for a few years, so to break into Europe or have a cup run would be amazing.'

Guthrie, who is understood to have cost the Magpies around £2.5million, is revelling in his chance to make a name for himself at St James' Park after tasting the atmosphere on Tyneside during his loan spell at Bolton last season.

He was in the Wanderers side which spoiled Keegan's homecoming by claiming a 0-0 draw in his first match back at the helm, and cannot wait to experience life on the other side of the fence.

The midfielder said: 'It was the best atmosphere I have ever played in. It was unbelievable. The game was over-shadowed.

'It was a great day all round.

'It's massive for me. It's a proud moment and there's just so much excitement to get started and get into St James' Park when it's full and feel that as a Newcastle player.

'That will be amazing.'

Guthrie's first chance to pull on the black and white shirt will come in the club's opening pre-season friendly at Hartlepool on Saturday.

But Keegan has already told him exactly where he stands.

The Shrewsbury-born player told the club's official website: 'He just said to me, 'Just knuckle down and you will have as great a chance as anybody in here'.

'It is just about me knuckling down and showing everyone what I can do to get into the starting line-up on the first day.'

Meanwhile, the Magpies' hopes of signing Pablo Aimar appear to have been dashed with the Argentinian playmaker poised to complete a move from Real Zaragoza to Benfica after the clubs agreed a deal.

The 28-year-old announced his intention to leave the Spanish side soon after they were relegated, with Lisbon giants Benfica instantly showing their interest in the player.

The delay in the clubs reaching an agreement had reportedly attracted the

attention of the Magpies and Everton, but now it seems the transfer to Portugal is all but completed.

Zaragoza communications director Luis Sol told maisfutebol: 'He is about to sign a contract with Benfica.

'Between Zaragoza and Benfica everything is sorted out. The doors are open for Aimar to become Benfica player.

'At around 6.30pm (yesterday) Aimar was in Soria with his team-mates, but he received a phone call and travelled to Zaragoza.

'The only information we have is that between both clubs, everything is

resolved. This is the reason he went to meet the Benfica board.

Reports in Portugal suggest Aimar will be offered a three-year contract, and the Lisbon-based club will pay Zaragoza around £6million.

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