Bellamy escapes to Blackburn

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The Independent Football

The thorn in the Newcastle manager's side signed a four-year contract at Ewood Park after opting to renew acquaintances with his former international coach Mark Hughes rather than join Champions' League hopefuls Everton.

Bellamy's surprise move emerged yesterday morning when he underwent a medical in Lancashire ahead of a £6m transfer from St James's Park. The 25-year-old is believed to have signed a deal worth £45,000-a-week, and although that is a drop on his salary on Tyneside, Blackburn are believed to have provided a lucrative bonus package that will match his Newcastle wages through appearance and goal payments.

"Rovers have today completed the signing of Craig Bellamy. The Wales international has signed a four-year deal," the club said in a statement.

The striker resisted the chance to join Aston Villa, Birmingham and Celtic, the latter where he recovered from his bitter fall-out with Souness at the tail-end of last season on loan. He had been expected to seal a move to Goodison Park earlier this week but cooled on the idea following talks with the Everton manager David Moyes.

Bellamy's move leaves Souness with only Alan Shearer, the injured Shola Ameobi and youngster Michael Chopra to lead the Newcastle line next season. However, the Scot hopes to bolster his midfield options today after tabling a firm offer for Internationale's Emre Belozoglu.

The Turkish international has been in talks over a move to the North East from the San Siro for several weeks, only for Inter's £4m asking price to delay a deal. However, Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd revealed yesterday: "We have been talking to the player with Inter's permission and we have now tabled an offer. We are now waiting for Inter to come back to us with their response."

Emre's agent, Ahmet Bulut, added: "The situation is not clear yet, but I hope that by tomorrow morning it will be clear."

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