VURNON Anita has set out his desire to become a central midfield general for Newcastle United this season – after revealing he turned down interest from North East rivals Sunderland to complete his £6.7million move from Ajax.
After a week of discussions, the 23-year-old penned a five-year deal yesterday morning and is in line to play against Tottenham tomorrow, possibly instead of injury doubt Yohan Cabaye.
The slight delay in completing the transfer was down to Anita seeking assurances that he would be seen mostly as a central midfielder.
Those were satisfied over dinner with Alan Pardew, who also convinced the former Ajax man that Newcastle will continue with the footballing philosophy that impressed him from afar last year.
The signing of Anita is a major boost for United ahead of the new season, giving them options in several positions and reaffirming the commitment of Mike Ashley to build on last term’s impressive fifth-place finish.
Anita is renowned as a hard-working, technically gifted midfielder who will also weigh in with his fair share of goals.
Despite only standing 5ft 6ins tall, the three-times capped Dutch international says he is ready to hold his own in the physical Premier League.
And in a move that will further endear him to Newcastle supporters, he also revealed that he was left unmoved by Sunderland’s interest when he first became aware of United’s intentions.
“I’m very happy to have everything sorted. Now I can focus on the football and that is the most important thing,” he told The Journal.
“The English Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world so I’m happy to be here and with a great club like Newcastle it is even better. Yes, it is true that Sunderland did want me but I chose Newcastle because they really wanted me, they kept on asking for me and that gave me satisfaction too.
“Now I am here so let's look to make a wonderful year for Newcastle. Last year I saw Newcastle play several times.
“They play wonderful football and that is the main focus.
“I have known about Newcastle for a long time.
“I know of Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer.
“These are great figures in world football.”
United were always confident of clinching a deal for Anita, even when he told the Dutch press that he wanted to know more about Newcastle and their intentions before committing himself to the club.
Newcastle were relaxed about that, with the club generally confident that they can persuade anyone to join them if they manage to agree a fee with a selling club.
Anita was no different, with Pardew able to assuage any fears that the player had that he was being bought as a ‘jack of all trades’.
“It is true that I wanted to speak to the club first,” the midfielder said.
“I spoke to the staff, I heard the philosophy of the club and it was great to hear that. I'm very, very happy to be here.
“They showed me a video about the club and it was good to see that. The team really wants to play attractive football and that is my style.”
Asked what Newcastle supporters can expect from him, Anita said that he sees himself as a playmaker.
Fears that he will replace Cheick Tiote (pictured above) appear to be unfounded, at least at this stage. Anita said: “I like to be a playmaker. I am little but I can be very tough on the field.
“Those are the main things that I feel that I can do.
“Of course I would be happy to play anywhere but my main focus is on the midfield.
“If the coach needs me on the left or the right side then I can play there too.”