By Danny Wright
Newcastle have confirmed that they have completed deals to sign Stefan O’Connor and Josef Yarney.
The Magpies announced the news in a statement on their official club website on Thursday, which said that both defenders will join up with Peter Beardsley’s Under-23 squad.
The duo will definitely boost Newcastle’s defensive options even though they will be playing development team football for the upcoming campaign.
They join French centre-back Florian Lejeune in completing his move to St. James’ Park from La Liga outfit Eibar earlier this week and will provide strong back-up should the senior squad suffer an injury crisis.
O’Connor, 20, switches to Newcastle after he was released by Arsenal at the end of his contract last month.
He spent last season on loan in the Dutch second tier with MVV Maastricht but only managed to earn four senior appearances – which amounted to four minutes.
The London-born centre-back’s only first-team appearance for Arsenal came in 2014 when he featured in a Champions League group stage victory over Galatasaray.
Yarney, 19, joins the Magpies after he reached the end of his contract with Everton and has already made an appearance for the Tynesider’s Under-23 side during a trial period when he played against Middlesbrough in the Premier League 2 during April.
Football Insider Verdict
Both of these signings look very good for Newcastle but it remains to be seen if either of them could push for a place in Rafa Benitez’s first-team plans any time soon. O’Connor seems the most likely of the duo to do so. He’s a tall, strong defender who is only going to get better in the coming years. His loan spell in Holland didn’t prove successful, but if he is looked after correctly in the north-east then he could become a Premier League centre-back in the future. Yarney arrives at St. James’ Park without a senior appearance to his name, so it is very hard to judge how he will progress with Newcastle. However, both signed as free agents and could work out as very good signings in financial terms.