Defender Ciaran Clark has officially swapped the Midlands for the North East after completing his move to Newcastle United.
The Republic of Ireland international signed a five-year deal, ending his 15-year stint at Aston Villa.
Clark delighted to sign for “massive club”
Like his fellow summer signings, Clark followed by calling the Magpies a “massive club” and stating that he is “really happy to be here.”
The 26-year-old made 31 appearances for Villa last season as they also fell into the Championship, and despite both clubs being in the same division, Clark believes Newcastle “is a club that is moving in the right direction and pushing for the right things.”
United begin their Championship journey on Friday evening at Craven Cottage as the road to achieve instant promotion back to the top-flight begins, and the task makes Clark “excited to now be a part of that.”
The prospect of coming to the club only came to attention two days ago, with Clark saying it “progressed really quickly.” He added that he is “delighted to have got it all done and be a part of this squad.”
Benitez: “He is a very versatile player”
With 46 games to cope with, having plenty of players to call upon will prove pivotal, and in Clark, Rafael Benitez believes he has a player who can play in many positions: “Ciaran is a very versatile player, as a left-footed centre-back he can also play left-back and also as a defensive midfielder.”
Benitez added: “He (Clark) has a lot of experience of English football and will add good balance and competition to our squad.”
And as Clark signs for five years, the Toon boss believes that the Irishman will “progress with us here at Newcastle.” He also insisted: “We are very happy for him to join us.”
Why sign Clark? – fans ask
There has a fair number of fans questioning the decision the bring the Irishman to the club.
And the answer to that question would be to add much-needed strength-in-depth. Although Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini became faded figures on Tyneside, Benitez still lost two central defenders from his squad this summer.
With the arrival of Grant Hanley and now Clark, both have been signed to fill the positions left open by the two departing centre-backs.
Clark will fancy his chances of establishing himself at the heart of the United defence, but it seems likely that Clark will be used a back-up player, for now.
The Spanish boss knows exactly what he needs. Four capable defenders at his disposal can only work as a positive in their long season ahead.
Injuries are a common part of football. But it looks like Benitez has his centre-back area covered and if the defence is to remain unscarred, other opportunities will open up for the versatile Clark.