Benitez brings Clark to Newcastle

Newcastle have snapped up defender Ciaran Clark from their Championship rivals Aston Villa.

The 26-year-old defender had four years left on his Villa contract, but has joined after Newcastle activated the £5million release clause in his contract, becoming the sixth player to depart Villa Park this summer.

Clark, who is left-footed, is most comfortable at centre-back, but can also play at left-back and in defensive midfield, adding great depth to the Magpie’s defence.

Rafa Benitez said: “Ciaran is a very versatile player.

“He has a lot of experience in English football and will add good balance and competition.”

Clark made 150 appearances for Aston Villa, and has played for the Republic of Ireland 19 times, including twice at this summer’s Euro 2016.

Speaking about signing, Clark said: “Newcastle is a massive club so I’m really happy to be here.

“I’m delighted to get it all done and be part of this squad.”

Despite the signing of Tommy Elphick, the move will come as a blow to Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo, who spoke earlier in the transfer window about keeping hold of his assets, including youth-team product Clark.

“Ciaran is a Villa man, a Villa boy, he has pledged his future to us. He will be staying with us,” Di Matteo said.

“He is very happy to be with us, to stay here. I know he has a long-term contract as well.”

Clark will now join up with his new team-mates ahead of Newcastle’s EFL opener at Fulham on Friday night.



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