PSV Eindhoven midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has joined Newcastle on a five-year deal for a fee reportedly worth around 20 million euros (A?14.4million), the club announced Saturday.
The 24-year-old Holland international becomes Newcastle’s third most expensive signing of all time after Michael Owen and Alan Shearer.
Wijnaldum, who joins compatriots Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Vurnon Anita and Siem de Jong at St James’ Park, said: “There are a few players here who are from Holland – I know them well and they will help me feel at home in Newcastle.
“I know the club has a great stadium with great fans. I want to play here as soon as possible – I want to feel the atmosphere and hear the crowd. I cannot wait to get started.”
Wijnaldum’s arrival is a major boost to head coach Steve McClaren, who insisted on Thursday that he was not frustrated by the apparent lack of action in the transfer market.
McClaren said: “This signing is a real statement for the club. It is a big transfer for a very good player and I am delighted to have Gini here at the club.
“He has lots of energy and a great tempo to his game. He is very skilful, but is also capable of playing box-to-box, and – importantly – he can score goals.
“He is at the right age and the right fit for Newcastle. He is a leader as well and you will see that. He is someone who always wants the ball, can deal with it, and we need that kind of character in the team.”
Wijnaldum, a Rotterdam-born player who came through the ranks at Feyenoord, made 130 appearances for PSV and scored 47 goals during his four seasons at the Philips Stadion.
Forty of those appearances and 16 of the goals came as captain last season as the club cruised to the Eredivisie title, finishing 17 points ahead of closest rivals Ajax.
He has 19 senior caps and represented his country at the World Cup finals in Brazil last year.
McClaren will hope Wijnaldum is the first of a series of signings as Newcastle attempt to significantly strengthen a squad which struggled to retain its Premier League status last season.
Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is a serious target with efforts to land QPR’s Charlie Austin having so far come to nothing, while Wolfsburg frontman Bas Dost has also been in their sights for some time.
McClaren and his players, who opened their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win at Gateshead on Friday, are due to fly out to the United States on Sunday ahead of fixtures against Club Atlas, Sacramento Republic and the Portland Timbers.