Davide Santon excited by Newcastle opportunity

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The Independent Football

Newcastle new boy Davide Santon has admitted the opportunity to play in front of packed houses at St James' Park was one he could not resist.

The 20-year-old completed his move from Inter Milan to Tyneside for an undisclosed fee last night when he signed a five-year deal.

He will take over the number three shirt vacated by Jose Enrique after he left for Liverpool earlier this month, and his recruitment ends manager Alan Pardew's search for a left-back.

Santon said: "I am really pleased to sign for Newcastle. The chance to play in the Premier League and in front of 50,000 fans at St James' Park was too good to turn down.

"This is an ambitious club who want to move forward and I want to help them achieve that."

Newcastle finally landed Santon after a prolonged sortie into Europe which saw them enter negotiations for both PSV Eindhoven's Erik Pieters and Lyon's Aly Cissokho before deciding to take the plunge with the young Italian.

Pardew was relieved to have made a breakthrough with a little more than 24 hours of the summer transfer window still to run.

He said: "We are delighted to bring Davide to Newcastle.

"He is a quality left-back and an established international who also gives us flexibility in defence.

"Davide is a young lad and a great signing for us and I am sure he will adapt to the Premier League very quickly."

Pardew will hope Santon is not the final arrival before tonight's 11pm deadline with a striker still very much in his sights, and the Magpies boss admitted in the wake of Sunday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham that he would ideally like to replace departed midfielder Joey Barton and add cover in central defence.

A frontman, however, is the main priority and it is understood that Newcastle are still in the hunt for Sochaux's Modibo Maiga after re-establishing contact with the French club.

The 24-year-old Mali international, like Santon, fits the profile of player the Mike Ashley regime is hoping to attract - young, talented and with a potential sell-on value.

Managing director Derek Llambias confirmed that ongoing policy in welcoming Santon to Tyneside.

He said: "The signing of Davide Santon is a real coup for this club.

"It confirms our commitment to bringing quality players whose best years are ahead of them to St James' Park."

Newcastle last night also snapped up Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot. The 24-year-old joined for an undisclosed fee and signed a five-year deal.