Antonio Barreca joins Newcastle on a loan deal
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Antonio Barreca joins Newcastle on a loan deal

The former Italy under-21 international has swapped Monaco for Tyneside.

Aaron Hindhaugh

Rafa Benitez has got his first signing through the door with only hours left of the transfer window.

Benitez has been wanting to sign a left-back ever since he joined the club and three years later he has his wish.

Antonio Barreca is likely to be cover for Paul Dummett when he returns from a hamstring injury but may get a run of games while the Welsh international is out injured.

A chance to prove himself

Barreca has a chance to make his move permanent in the summer for £9 million if Benitez feels he can improve the squad in the long-term.

The 23-year old will offer Benitez a more attacking option when Newcastle United play with wing-backs.

The defender is an attacking threat as well an accomplished crosser of the ball which will be perfect for Salomon Rondon.

With Barreca and DeAndre Yedlin as two wing-backs, it would give the Magpies even more pace on counter attacks which is how Benitez sets his side up to win games.

Benitez happy to get his man

After failing to get Jordan Lukaku over the line earlier in the window Benitez was delighted to finally get some defensive cover for Dummett.

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The Spaniard spoke to after Barreca's signing: "The left-back/left-wing-back position is one we've been looking to strengthen for a while and he's an Italy under-21 international who we know has quality, good delivery and is good going forward.

"He has the attributes, he has the quality and he has the characteristics that we look for."

"Now we must see how quickly he can adapt, but we will try to help him and if he can give us more competition in this area, and more quality in the final third with his deliveries, the only thing I can see is a positive."

Barecca ready to get going

The left-back spoke of his pride and eagerness to get going for his new club: "I am very happy to be here."

"I have accepted this challenge with a great deal of enthusiasm and I can’t wait to start."

"I know that Newcastle is a big and historic club."

"I know that the people here really love football and that the fans are really behind the team."

"I think that the Premier League is the best league, so for me, this is further motivation to do well."