Newcastle United 'pay later' transfer deal explained by club chairman

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Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has explained the club’s move for Kelland Watts.

The 22-year-old Newcastle United defender – who had surgery knee surgery this summer after suffering an injury in pre-season – joined the League One team on an initial half-season loan last week.

Watts – who helped Wigan Athletic win the League One title last season – isn’t yet fit, and MacAnthony has spoken about the move on his Hard Truth podcast.

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Kelland Watts celebrates promotion with loan club Wigan Athetlic last season.Kelland Watts celebrates promotion with loan club Wigan Athetlic last season.
Kelland Watts celebrates promotion with loan club Wigan Athetlic last season.

"The manager (Grant McCann) wanted a left-footed centre-back for balance, and he came up with two options,” MacAnthony said.

"His first choice was Kell, and obviously he was injured. He was outstanding at Wigan last season when helping them win the League One title.

"The other had recently been signed by a Championship club, but wasn’t in the team. The problem with him was his manager hadn’t bothered to tell him he could go on loan, so when it was put to him, he dug his heels in, even though he wasn’t going to play at his current club.

"My manager wanted Kell, anyway. He was his first choice, and we did due diligence on him. We spoke to the Newcastle medical staff, and they said his surgery went perfectly, and when he was ready to return, they didn’t foresee any problems.

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"And Newcastle were very good to us. They said we didn’t have to start paying (his wages) until he played, and if things didn’t work out he could go back to Newcastle in January, and we wouldn’t have to keep paying for him until next June.

"I don’t get the issue here, as it’s a deal that works for both parties.”

Watts will split his team between Newcastle and Peterborough as he works his way towards fitness.

Peterborough manager Grant McCann said: “We had options on the table, but we believed Kell was the one we could wait on. He’s really aggressive, dominant in the air, can control the ball, quick and is mobile.

"He’ll be in and around the group, and he’ll be following a plan to get fit.

"He’ll be here a couple of days a week, and at Newcastle a couple of days a week, but he wants to be at the games.”