Newcastle conclude first signing of the summer

Gillespie

Newcastle have been linked with numerous players before the transfer window has even opened.

Such has been the excitement surrounding their potential £300m takeover from PIF, some expensive faces have emerged as targets for the Magpies.

Whether it's Philippe Coutinho or Kai Havertz, some of Europe's finest footballers could be strutting their stuff at St James' Park next season.

It's a rather lively time for the Toon Army at the moment but it wasn't Coutinho, Havertz or the takeover being announced on Saturday.

Instead, it was the confirmation of their first summer signing - a rather lesser-known name too. 

Journalist Keith Downie took to Twitter to unveil the news as he confirmed Newcastle had signed a free agent on a three-year deal.

That player is Mark Gillespie, recently released from Scottish side Motherwell.

Gillespie

In the tweet, Downie confirmed that he'd be a replacement for the recently departed Rob Elliott.

He revealed:

The Sky Sports journalist claims Newcastle is Gillespie's boyhood club, suggesting this will be a dream come true for the 28-year-old.

Gillespie

GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...

It might not be the announcement that Newcastle fans are hoping for at the moment but it's a signing nonetheless.

Most important of all, it was one they needed to get over the line following Elliott's exit.

Martin Dubravka is the undisputed number one at St James' Park but providing some extra competition for Karl Darlow behind him is certainly no bad thing.

Signing a player of Gillespie's experience should also be beneficial. 

His record this season was particularly good, leading the free transfer to be a rather impressive acquisition.

In Scotland this season, the stopper kept 16 clean sheets in 38 matches, 11 of which came in the league.

Gillespie, meanwhile, conceded just 45 goals in those matches.

He was ever-present throughout the campaign and his departure should come as a blow to Motherwell. However, he is a boost to Newcastle who should now have a truly reliable number two behind Dubravka. 

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