By Will Butcher
Newcastle have signed Spanish right-back Jesus Gamez on a free transfer from Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid, it was confirmed on Friday.
The 31-year-old has signed an initial two year-deal, and becomes the fourth signing at St. James’ Park after Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Matz Sels put pen to paper to sign for the Magpies.
Football Insider reported on Tuesday that the former Malaga right-back was close to joining the north-east club, which potentially signals the end of Daryl Janmaat’s time on Tyneside.
Newcastle confirmed that the defender has penned a contract that runs until 2018.
In an interview with the official Newcastle website, Gamez said he is delighted to sign and can’t wait for the next chapter of his career.
“I am really looking forward to starting the next part of my career at Newcastle,” Gamez told Newcastle’s website. “”It was the right time to leave Atletico Madrid and this is the right move for me.
“We have an exciting project here, to bring Newcastle back to where it belongs, in the Premier League, and I am very happy to be a part of that.”
Gamez signed for Atleti after making 256 appearances in all competitions for Malaga, before making a £2.2million transfer to Vicente Calderon Stadium.
The uncapped Spaniard appeared 16 times for Diego Simeone’s side last season, including one Champions League appearance in a 2-0 home win against Galatasaray en route to the final.
Rafa Benitez used his Spanish connections to sign his fellow countryman, ahead of interest from Premier League sides West Ham and Everton.
The 56-year-old is also in the market for a centre-back after allowing captain Fabricio Coloccini to return to his homeland and sign for San Lorenzo, as well as releasing long-serving defender Steven Taylor.
He is in the market for Championship experience and is looking at Blackburn’s Grant Hanley as well as Bristol City’s captain Aden Flint.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez’s star-man will cost Premier League big boys more than £20million.