Newcastle United briefing: Vurnon Anita on Leeds move, Stefan O'Connor's 'fresh start'

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Vurnon Anita was a player many fans felt still had a lot to offer Newcastle United.

But Anita will be back in the Championship next season.

And the 28-year-old – whose St James's Park contract expired this summer – has been speaking about his move to Leeds United.

READ MORE: Florian Lejeune: I thought call from Rafa Benitez was a prank!

New United signing Florian Lejeune has been talking about his move to Tyneside.

And 20-year-old Stefan O'Connor has given his first interview as a Newcastle player.

Vurnon Anita

Vurnon Anita

Here's your daily briefing:

New challenge

Anita was unveiled last night at Leeds' kit launch.

The Holland international – who joined United in 2012 – had been hoping to secure a new deal at St James's Park after helping the club win promotion to the Premier League last season.

Vurnon Anita

Vurnon Anita

Asked by the Yorkshire Evening Post if he had been looking for a fresh start, Anita said: “Yes and no.

"The situation occurred that I got released. Things didn’t work out with a new contract at Newcastle, but I’m here and I’m very happy to be here."

"I’m ready for a new challenge and I feel that now.”

On his move to Elland Road, Anita added: “For a few weeks we’ve been talking, and I’m pleased to be here.

Florian Lejeune

Florian Lejeune

"The main goal for me coming here is promotion. The club are starting a new project with promotion in mind, and that was one of the things that attracted me.

"It’s a beautiful club, and (promotion) is something we need to achieve."

Dream move

Lejeune faced the media yesterday at United's training ground.

And the defender spoke about his protracted move to Newcastle.

The 26-year-old 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."

Lejeune, signed from Spanish club Eibar in an £8.8million deal, also reflected on his short-lived Manchester City career.

Fresh start

New signing Stefan O'Connor has spoken about his move to United.

The defender joined the club yesterday as a free agent, having left Arsenal this summer.

O'Connor has linked up with United's development squad.

The 20-year-old told the club's official website: "It’s a fresh start for me. Newcastle is a lot different to London, but they’re both nice cities and I’m looking forward to making this my new home.

“I know it’s a massive club, without a doubt. I’ve grown up watching Match of the Day and Premier League Years, and I’ve always seen Newcastle on there and their fans are great. It’s a massive club.

“I’m very happy. I’m very happy with the fresh start, to try and make some new fans happy, and hopefully help the club do well in the Premier League and help the Under-23s get promoted to the top league.

“I’ve been playing against a few of the players here for years, but I didn’t really know any one person.

"As long as I can play, I’ll just be very happy to help whatever team I can really.”

Winging it

Alex Gillead could line up against Newcastle in pre-season after rejoining Bradford City on loan.

The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season at the club.

And the winger could play against United in the friendly between two clubs at Valley Parade on July 26.

Gillead said: "I'm delighted to come back. I'm looking forward to starting again with all the lads.

"I had a few other clubs ringing my agent, but I thought it would be the best move for me.

"I'm just happy to get it done."

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