LONDON (Reuters) - French defender Florian Lejeune has joined Newcastle United on a five-year deal from Spanish club Eibar, the English Premier League side announced on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old centre back is the second off-season signing for the newly promoted side after midfielder Christian Atsu joined them on a four-year deal from Chelsea in May.
“I‘m very happy to have signed. Newcastle United is a big club, and I‘m very happy to be here,” Lejeune was quoted as saying in a statement on Newcastle’s website.
“When you have a manager like Rafa Benitez who wants you, you are very happy to come. Since I’ve been in touch with the manager, it was an easy decision for me to come here.”
Benitez welcomed the arrival of the former France under-20 international, who is joining for a fee of 8.7 million pounds ($11.26 million), according to British media reports.
“He is a player that has done very well this year in Spain. I have known about him for a while, since he began playing for Villarreal,” the Spanish manager said.
”He has progressed a lot as a player in the last few years and I know he will give us something different at the back -- he is good with both feet, he’s big and he’s good in the air also.
“If he settles well into English football then I am sure he will be a success and will give us a lot of competition in this area.”
The Magpies begin their Premier League campaign with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 12.
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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien