Kluivert settles on Newcastle

Newcastle United FC have signed Dutch international striker Patrick Kluivert on a three-year contract.

Free transfer
Kluivert has moved to the English Premiership after being told he could leave Barcelona at the end of last season. The 28-year-old will vie with Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy and Shola Ameobi for a starting role at St James' Park, and is viewed as a long-term replacement for Shearer who has announced he will retire at the end of the season.

High hopes
"It's a great club with great players and I hope I can fit in," Kluivert said. It's an honour to play for such a passionate audience." Regarding his possible partnership with former England captain Shearer, Kluivert added: "I know a lot about him, playing with him will be fantastic."

'Great move'
Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson described the deal as "one of the most significant signings" the club had made. "We are delighted to sign Patrick. I have known him for many years," he said, before adding: "It is a great move for him and he has got the best years of his career ahead of him and to bounce off the youngsters we have got, he will be of additional value."

Nou Camp favourite
Kluivert arrived at Barcelona in 1998 after a year at AC Milan and quickly adhered himself to the Camp Nou faithful, hitting 15 league goals as Barcelona clinched the title at the end of his first season. He spent six seasons at the club in all, scoring 90 goals in 181 league games.

Missed opportunity
Kluivert, who scored the winning goal for AFC Ajax in the 1995 UEFA Champions League final in his debut season, has scored 40 goals in 79 internationals for the Netherlands, but did not make an appearance for his country at UEFA EURO 2004™ in Portugal after recovering from a knee injury earlier in the season.

Offiong departure
Meanwhile, Newcastle have allowed young English striker Richard Offiong to leave, with the 20-year-old signing a two-year contract at Turkish side Istanbulspor AS. Midfield players Hugo Viana and Gary Speed have also departed for Sporting Clube de Portugal and Bolton Wanderers FC respectively.