Callum Wilson reveals why he turned down Premier League rivals Aston Villa in favour of Newcastle United move
Wilson completed a £20 million move to United on Monday, becoming the club’s second most expensive player in their history. He is also expected to take the No9 shirt off Joelinton, who is the Magpies’ pricest ever buy at £40 million.
But as Newcastle were in talks to bring the England man north, Aston Villa put in an increased bid of £21 million for Wilson, who hails from the Midlands.
It was not considered by Bournemouth though, as the player always favoured a move to United – and here, he explains why.
"I wouldn’t say an easy decision,” said the 28-year-old, who signed a four-year contract at Newcastle.
“I looked at both the squads and I feel I can fit into this team nicely.
“And I just want to be a part of the journey the club is going on, keep heading in the right direction.
"There’s great wingers in the likes of Saint-Maximin, who we played against last season. If I am on the end of any of the assists against us (Bournemouth) I am licking my lips. That was appealing, so too the talent in the squad and size of the club.”
The game Wilson refers to was July 1 – Bournemouth 1 Newcastle United 4.
"I was suspended that game and I was sitting watching in disbelief,” he continued.
“You had the wingers, the likes of (Jonjo) Shelvey, (Isaac) Hayden, the Longstaff brothers (Sean and Matty) and then the tricky players up front. As a striker you are going to relish the opportunity to be a part of that.”
The silver screen played its part in the move, too, with Wilson, like Miguel Almiron before him, referencing the movie Goal! as a reason his head was turned to Tyneside.
“It’s a massive club. My son is getting to the age now where he is starting to watch more movies and more football and he watched Goal! I am sitting there watching it with him and it is all about Newcastle,” he said.
"It got the little boy in me excited as well. It got me thinking ‘yeah, that’s the one for me’.”
Club and Premier League legend Alan Shearer had a hand in helping the move along as well – although Wilson admits his mind was pretty much made up before the former England and United captain sold the city to him.
“It was out of the blue, I was taken by surprise,” said Wilson of a text from Shearer when he suffered the second of his serious knee injuries.
“I was so appreciative. We kept in touch. Shearer messaged me about my England call up and he's also been in touch about me coming here.
“I've asked him a few questions 'what's it like around the town?' And he's been nothing but full of praise for the club and the area.
“It was already in my mind to come here but that just nailed it on.
“If I can do even a quarter of what he achieved representing this football club it will be a success.”
Success in the Premier League is one thing but doing it at international level is a different ball game.
And Wilson has revealed to NUFC TV that one of the major factors in his decision to come to United was to remain very much in Gareth Southgate’s England plans ahead of the European Championships next summer.
“It was a massive part of my decision to remain a Premier League footballer,” he said.
“I understand in the Championship you are not going to make it into the international squad.
“I wasn't expecting to get into the squad this time but I use that as motivation. It was my job to get a Premier League team, hit the ground running and get the attention of the international manager again.
“It's every guy's dream to represent their country at a major tournament and there's no bigger carrot dangling than that.
“That is only going to come by scoring goals and helping the team with points.”
And that’s what Wilson has vowed to do.
While he stopped short of mentioning any specific season targets he did let slip double figures in terms of goals is his starting point, despite the fact he only managed eight in the league for the Cherries last term.
“I believe in my ability,” he replied when asked whether he can fill the gaping hole in the United’s goal-shy frontline.
“I didn't have the best of season's last year – I am an honest person.
“Eight goals in the league is not something I'd like to even associate myself with.
“I'm hoping to get to double figures as quick as possible.
“I'm ready to hit the ground running.”
Wilson is expected to be a part of Newcastle’s squad for their Premier League opener at the London Stadium against West Ham United on Saturday.
United have just Andy Carroll as a fully fit striker option with Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto spending a section of the summer training away from the main first-team group and Dwight Gayle out for three to four months.