Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has completed his first January signing with the capture of Monaco full-back Antonio Barreca.
The 23-year-old defender has joined the Magpies on loan for the remainder of the season, with the Premier League club having an option to complete a permanent deal in the summer.
Benitez has been desperate to add cover for Paul Dummett, the club’s only specialist left-back who is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, for some time and was delighted to have finally made progress.
He said: “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.”
Former Italy Under-21 international Barreca joined Monaco from Serie A Torino last summer, but has made only nine senior appearances for the struggling Ligue 1 outfit and is relishing the opportunity to prove himself once again in England.
He told NUFC TV: “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.”
Barreca’s arrival came as the Magpies worked to push through a club record move for Atlanta United’s Paraguay international playmaker Miguel Almiron, who arrived on Tyneside hours after Tuesday night’s morale-boosting 2-1 victory over reigning champions Manchester City.
In addition, the club were understood to be looking to extend loan striker Salomon Rondon’s stay on Tyneside as the transfer window entered its final few hours.