Newcastle show faith in Gutierrez with new deal

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The Independent Online

Argentina international Jonas Gutierrez has signed a new contract that will keep him at Newcastle until 2015. The 28-year-old former Real Mallorca midfielder had two years of his existing deal still to run, but a new four-year agreement will secure his future on Tyneside after a summer of speculation that he could join the exodus of big-name players.

Gutierrez said: "I have said many times that I love playing for Newcastle. I love the city, the fans and the team, so I had no hesitation in signing a new contract."

Gutierrez arrived on Tyneside during the summer of 2008 in what proved to be a problematical transfer with the Magpies believing they had snapped him up on a free transfer after the player had bought himself out of his existing deal. Newcastle and Mallorca eventually settled after a lengthy dispute, and although Gutierrez's first season in England ended in relegation, he stayed to help Newcastle fight their way back into the Premier League and was one of their key men last season.

He has played his part in a fine start to the new campaign which sees the Magpies sitting in fourth place in the table and unbeaten in eight games in all competitions. Gutierrez said: "It has been a good start to the season and this is a great place to be.

"I am proud the manager and the board see me as part of the long-term future of Newcastle. I have always given my best here and I will always do that."

The South American was tipped to join the likes of skipper Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton in leaving St James' Park during the summer amid reports of interest from both Italy and Spain.

However, his decision to commit himself to the club has come as a welcome boost to manager Alan Pardew, who had high hopes of persuading Nolan, Enrique and Barton to stay, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Pardew said: "Jonas is an integral part of the future of Newcastle United and we are delighted to have signed a new contract with him.

"As a seasoned international player, he adds a different dimension to our play when he is on the field and is a huge asset to us. Jonas can turn a game in an instant, he has marvellous ball skills, a terrific work rate and in my time here, has hardly missed a game.

"That's the sort of consistency, fitness- and performance-wise, that a manager looks for in a player."

Club owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias have taken a tough stance on contract negotiations in recent times and were unwilling to meet Nolan's demands having told Barton he would not be offered a new deal following aborted talks in January. The Nolan situation in particular revolved around the length of contract for which the player was looking.

Gutierrez is of a similar age, suggesting the club has greater faith in his ability to perform to a high level into his 30s, or that his wage demands were more acceptable, or perhaps both.

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