Matz Sels: Why I chose Newcastle ahead of Middlesbrough, Leicester and Southampton

Matz Sels
Matz Sels
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Newcastle United new boy Matz Sels insists it was an 'easy decision' to choose to sign for the Magpies - despite interest from Premier League clubs.

The 24-year-old put pen to paper on a five-year deal at St James's Park today to become Rafa Benitez's first signing as Newcastle boss.

Sels brings European experience with him to St James' Park, having featured in the Champions League for Gent last season, and he arrives on Tyneside having kept 18 clean sheets during his final campaign at the Ghelamco Arena.

It is form which attracted a number of clubs, with Middlesbrough, Leicester City and Southampton all linked with the shot-stopper at some point.

However, the 6ft 2in Belgian Under-21 international says the lure of Newcastle, and the persuasive talk of Benitez, saw him join the Magpies, even though they are in the Championship.

Sels said: "I'm very pleased - I'm very happy to be here. In Belgium, Newcastle is a really big club, and that's why I chose Newcastle.

"As soon as Newcastle showed their interest in me, and I spoke to the coach, Rafa Benitez, it was an easy decision to make."

Sels is set to challenge Karl Darlow for a starting role against Fulham on August 5, with Tim Krul and Rob Elliot still working their way back to fitness after serious knee injuries.

Benitez said: "I am really pleased to welcome Matz to the club. He's a fantastic goalkeeper and many top clubs have been interested in signing him.

"Obviously we have injuries to Tim Krul and Rob Elliot which could be difficult for us in the first part of the season, so it was important to strengthen in this area to be sure we can make a strong start in the Championship."