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J.League kicks off with China in sight

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Real Salt Lake re-sign Plata as DP

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Newcastle sign Lens' Abeid

Newcastle have signed highly-rated Lens youngster Mehdi Abeid on a five-year contract.

Abeid, 18, is a defensive midfielder and had attracted the interest of Everton, Atletico Madrid, Rennes and Le Mans amng others. However he has been persuaded to move to the North East to continue his career.

"After eight fantastic years at Lens, I have stagnated. I needed a change of air. I am not afraid to leave for abroad," he told L'Equipe. "I have had contact dating back some time and I visited the facilities there [St James's Park] last week. I even trained with the reserve team.

"The leaders of the club told me about their plans and that they will rely on me for next season. For my part, I intend to give everything to develop in the Premier League. I already discussed things with Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote and they encouraged me and welcomed my signature."

Reports have also suggested manager Alan Pardew has made an improved £10 million offer for Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro and stepped up his interest in Lille's Gervinho, although sources on Tyneside have played down the speculation.

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