ROMAIN Amalfitano has told of his keenness to kick off his career at Newcastle United – after joining the Magpies’ French revolution.
Amalfitano was yesterday unveiled at the Sports Direct Arena after signing a three-year deal.
The 22-year-old, a technically-gifted player who can play on the right flank and in central midfield, is Alan Pardew’s first summer signing.
Amalfitano joins on a free transfer, and he will officially become a Newcastle player when his deal at Reims, where he had spent the past two seasons, expires on June 30.
The Nice-born player – whose elder brother Morgan is in France’s Euro 2012 squad with Newcastle duo Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye – arrived on Tyneside on Tuesday, and will now head away on his holidays before reporting back for pre-season training in July.
“I am very happy to be a Newcastle player,” said Amalfitano.
“I have seen a bit of the city already, and it is a change from France, but one I am really looking forward to.
“When a club like Newcastle wants you to play for them, it can only be a good thing.
“I have taken the opportunity to play in the Premier League, and cannot wait to get going.”
While Amalfitano won’t have any problam communicating with many of his team-mates – Alan Pardew has a large French-speaking contingent in his dressing room – he has vowed to quickly learn English in an attempt to assimilate into his new home.
However, Amalfitano – whose arrival comes ahead of out-of-contract Danny Guthrie’s expected departure – is untried in top-flight football, having spent the past two years in Ligue 2 with Reims, who secured promotion last Friday.
The length of Amalfitano’s deal, reportedly three years, has not been confirmed by Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Obertan has declared his first season at Newcastle a success – but also admitted to frustration at the injuries which held him back.
Obertan made 19 starts after joining from Manchester United last summer.
The 22-year-old winger feels he has given himself a platform to build on next term, when Newcastle could be playing many more games because of their Europa League involvement.
“For my first season, I’m quite happy,” Obertan said.
You always want more. I’ve played maybe 20 games and, compared to the two previous seasons, that’s a lot.
“I’m quite happy with it. I’m just a bit frustrated about the injuries, but that’s football.”
Speaking during the season, manager Pardew called for “patience” from fans as Obertan adjusted to life on Tyneside.
“We have to be patient with him,” he said. “He understands that he needs to threaten the goal a bit more, but his pace, trust me, makes the opposition go on the back foot.”
After returning to fitness late in the campaign, Obertan was unable to get in the team because of the form of his French countryman Hatem Ben Arfa.
Ben Arfa came into his own on the right side of a three-man attack in the last few months of the season.