Obertan embraces 'passion' of move to Newcastle

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The Independent Football

French winger Gabriel Obertan insisted yesterday it had been an easy decision to leave Manchester United and join Newcastle. The 22-year-old arrived at St James' Park on a five-year contract after finding first-team opportunities limited at Old Trafford during his two-year spell.

The former Bordeaux attacker described the switch as "a great move" despite leaving the current Premier League champions. He told his new club's website: "I spoke with some of my friends and Newcastle is a big club with history in England, so it's a great move. I spent two good years in Manchester, but it was a bit difficult with the competition and I really needed a club where I could play more games.

"It won't be easy to play each game here, because there's a good group, but I want a fresh start. I've heard a lot about the fans, the atmosphere, the passion around the club and the way the city is behind the club 100 per cent. So I think I'm going to love it."

The Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, said: "Gabriel is a player I've watched for the last couple of seasons since he arrived at Manchester United. He has great pace and excellent technique and has improved his power in the last 12 months and is ready to make a real impact in the Premier League.

"I contacted Sir Alex Ferguson about him early at the start of the summer to see if there was an opportunity to bring him to Newcastle, but it wasn't until Wayne Routledge joined Swansea that we were able to bring him in. His best years are ahead of him, which is exactly what we want."

It has been a troubled pre-season for Newcastle with fans unhappy at the lack of activity in the transfer market in the wake of the £35m sale of striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool. Now Pardew has been able to invest some of the Carroll money and is hopeful of adding another striker to his squad before the transfer window closes. "We certainly need to bring in a striker," he said. "We are aware of that and we are working hard on that."