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Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Luque finalises move to Newcastle
Alberto Luque
Luque could make his Magpies debut against Manchester United
Newcastle have signed Deportivo La Coruna striker Albert Luque for 9.5m after he passed a medical on Friday.

The 27-year-old, who has agreed a five-year deal, could make his debut on Sunday against Manchester United after receiving international clearance.

He told the club's website: "I'm very happy. I am looking forward to playing with Alan Shearer.

"I'm excited. It's a great place to play. I'm looking forward to playing in front of the Newcastle fans."

Newcastle have failed to score in their opening three games of the Premiership season but Magpies boss Graeme Souness believes Luque can solve the problem.

"He will bring a number of goals and he will bring us a bit of width if we choose to play him on the left side," Souness added.

I didn't score against Manchester United in the Champions League - maybe I will on Sunday
Albert Luque

"He is naturally left-footed and he is a wonderful striker of the ball. He will give us the little bit of class we have been missing in that area."

Luque will go straight into the squad for Sunday's encounter with Manchester United, provided his international clearance arrives in time.

"It would be a great game for me to make my debut in," said the Spaniard.

"It would be nice to start with a victory. It is going to be very difficult, but it is a match we are capable of winning.

"I played four games against Manchester United in the Champions League, two games in two different seasons.

"One of the games was in the quarter-final of the Champions League. It was a difficult time for Deportivo. I did not score in any of the games - but maybe I will on Sunday."

Newcastle looked to have missed out on Luque earlier in the week after a "final" offer was rejected.

But Deportivo president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro said: "The financial conditions are very different to those that had originally been offered."

The Spain international grew up in Barcelona and was taken on by his home-town club as a youngster, before then-coach Louis van Gaal rejected him as a 19-year-old.

He joined Mallorca, but after a handful of games they loaned him to Malaga, where a better showing in 1999-2000 persuaded Mallorca to take him back.

The following season Luque scored nine goals as Mallorca finished third, giving them a place in the Champions League qualifiers for the first time ever.

It was his extra-time goal against Hajduk Split in the 2001 qualifier that put Mallorca into the group stages.

The following season 14 La Liga goals earned him a place in Spain's squad for the 2002 World Cup - where he made two substitute's appearances.

At the start of 2002-2003 Depor decided he was worth splashing out 10m on, but he spent his first season there mainly on the bench.

The following campaign, however, playing mainly on the left-wing, he scored the goals which put Depor in the Champions League and also earned him a spot in Spain's Euro 2004 party.

Despite signing Luque, Newcastle are still in the 17m chase for Real Madrid's England striker Michael Owen.

Owen has expressed a preference to re-join Liverpool, and the European champions have now made a first move towards possibly signing him.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness


Interview: Newcastle's Alan Shearer



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