Florian Lejeune says there was never any doubt he was going to sign for Newcastle United – despite delays to his “dream” move.
Lejeune joined the club this week in an £8.8million switch from Eibar.
Talks with the Spanish side over a deal for the defender dragged on for several weeks.
But there was a breakthrough last weekend – and Lejeune finally got the move he wanted.
Asked about the lengthy talks, he said: “It was longer than planned.
“It went on and on and on, but that’s what happens between clubs when they have a lot to discuss.
“But, in my head, I was coming to Newcastle.
“So I’m pleased I did.
“It may have taken a long time, but in the end it was fine, so I’m very happy I’m here.”
Lejeune, Newcastle’s second summer signing, couldn’t believe it when St James’s Park boss Rafa Benitez telephoned him to talk about a move to the Premier League club.
“I didn’t really think it was a prank, but I didn’t believe that he was going to phone me,” said the 26-year-old, who joined Eibar from Manchester City last year.
Lejeune had no qualms about joining a newly-promoted club.
“I don’t see this as a risk at all,” he said. “I’m coming to Newcastle, which is a great club.
“It’s always been a great club. Having Rafa Benitez as a coach too, I’m not taking risks here.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle have signed defensive pair Stefan O’Connor and Josef Yarney.
O’Connor, 20, and Yarney, 19, signed as free agents after leaving Arsenal and Everton respectively this summer.
The pair have linked up with Peter Beardsley’s development squad.
O’Connor made one Champions League appearance for Arsenal and had loan spells at York City and MVV Maastricht.
The former England Under-17 international can play at centre-half and right-back.
Yarney featured for Everton’s Under-23s side in the Checkatrade Trophy last season.