Newcastle United have seen a three-year pursuit of Loic Remy come to fruition after signing the France striker on a one-year loan deal with an option to buy him in June.
It is Newcastle first transfer breakthrough of the summer and the result of three years scouting of the striker, who first came onto United’s radar in 2010.
They have secured an option to buy the striker in the summer for a knockdown fee believed to be around £7million – although they will pay a £2million loan fee for him and will cover his wages while on Tyneside.
Remy is unlikely to be involved at Rangers but might be available to make his debut against Braga on Saturday, Newcastle’s only home friendly before Premier League hostilities resume at Manchester City in under two weeks.
With his explosive pace and goal record, Newcastle believe they have managed to pull off a significant coup in getting Remy on loan – as well as securing an agreement to sign him if the move turns out well.
The player was at the club’s Benton training base for a lengthy medical yesterday after complications in their pursuit of two other strikers persuaded Newcastle to turn their full attention to the Remy deal.
The 26-year-old admitted he was delighted to have joined the Magpies after putting pen to paper on his deal.
“It will be a huge honour to play for such a big club,” he said. “I was very flattered by the club’s interest in me back in January and also very happy that they showed interest in me again this summer.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world and that’s where I want to play.
“I am very motivated this year to get into the World Cup squad for my country. I know in order to do that I need to have a big season and a successful campaign with Newcastle United.
“I am focused on helping the team achieve success this season and scoring as many goals as I can.”
Newcastle’s director of football, Joe Kinnear, added: “The need for us to strengthen up front was a priority and I have been working very hard to secure one of our targets in this position.
“I’m delighted to have secured Loic for the season. Now we have him I’m sure he’ll be a huge success for us; I know he’s hungry for goals and is absolutely committed to helping us achieve success this season.” And Alan Pardew said: “Loic is a great player and I’m delighted that Joe has got him on board for us. He’ll be a great addition to the squad, he gives us strength and pace up front and I’m sure he’ll bring plenty of goals.
“It’s a big season for Loic, like it is for all our international players ahead of the World Cup, which will only provide extra incentive for him to play at the very top of his game.”
Newcastle have also been linked with a move for Liverpool and England winger Stewart Downing, said to be keen on a move back to the North East.
But the St James’ Park outfit are understood to have dampened down any interest in the player.
However, United still hope to broker a deal for another striker before the start of the Premier League season, but there is increasing exasperation with the Bafetimbi Gomis transfer, which continues to hit minor hitches.
Similarly, Darren Bent’s move to Newcastle is also proving more complicated than first anticipated and United chose to pool efforts into securing Remy – recognising a need to get at least one transfer “over the line” to address concerns about the size of the squad.
It could well be that Remy is the only striker addition but Mike Ashley will receive briefings from Joe Kinnear before deciding the next course of action on Gomis, whose agent is now haggling with Lyon over the terms of his release and money owed to the club.
Pessimistic dispatches from France have dismayed Newcastle, who believe Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas is trying to smoke out more interest in the striker.
United are unlikely to make moves on anyone but a striker before the weekend and despite reports linking them with James McCarthy, he is not understood to be an immediate target.
Alan Pardew is full of admiration for the Wigan winger and Newcastle have begun to scout left wingers but the entire efforts of this window have been trained on strikers. Only when they have made progress on that front do they expect to move on to other areas, including securing goalkeeping replacements.
Newcastle are also under pressure to broker further sales as Ashley demanded that players who were not able to challenge the first team be moved on.