Newcastle United have signed centre-back Florian Lejeune from Spanish club Eibar.
Florian Lejeune, 26, has signed a five-year deal with newly promoted Newcastle and becomes their first signing since Christian Atsu joined on a permanent deal from Chelsea in May.
“I’m very happy to have signed. Newcastle United is a big club, and I’m very happy to be here,” the former France under-20 international told his club’sofficial website.
“When you have a manager like Rafa Benitez who wants you, you are very happy to come. Since I’ve been in touch with the manager, it was an easy decision for me to come here.”
Florian Lejeune thought he was the victim of a prank when Rafael Benitez called him to offer him the chance to join Newcastle.
He said: “When I got the call, I thought it was a prank so I didn’t say anything. After a few hours, I said, ‘Yes, that’s Rafael Benitez’, so I had to say yes.
“He was very important to my decision. For many years, my career was going up and down and up and down.”
Rafa Benitez, who was reported to have been frustrated with the club’s lack of action in the market, welcomed the deal.
“I would like to welcome Florian to Newcastle United,” he said. “He is a player that has done very well this year in Spain. I have known about him for a while, since he began playing for Villarreal.
“He has progressed a lot as a player in the last few years and I know he will give us something different at the back — he is good with both feet, he’s big and he’s good in the air also.
“If he settles well into English football then I am sure he will be a success and will give us a lot of competition in this area.”