(Reuters) - Newcastle United signed forward Miguel Almiron from Major League Soccer (MLS) champions Atlanta United for an undisclosed fee on a 5-1/2 year deal, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
British media reported Newcastle had paid around 21 million pounds for the 24-year-old, surpassing the 16 million pounds they paid Real Madrid for Michael Owen in 2005.
“The league is competitive, this is a historic club, and (Newcastle manager) Rafa Benitez himself were the main reasons why I am here now,” Almiron said in a statement.
“I think it is a great responsibility, something beautiful for me, and I will try to offer the best I can to repay the trust the club put in me.”
Paraguay international Almiron, who has 13 caps, scored 13 goals and provided 13 assists to help Atlanta win the MLS Cup last year.
“We were following Almiron for a while, and we saw a player with some pace in attack, who can play behind the striker. We have someone who can score goals and give assists,” Benitez said.
Earlier, Newcastle signed left back Antonio Barreca from Monaco on loan until the end of the season with the option to buy the player.
“I am happy to be here. I have accepted this challenge with a great deal of enthusiasm and I can’t wait to start,” Barreca said in a statement.
Barreca came through the ranks at Italian side Torino where he became an established starter before heading to the French Ligue 1 with Monaco last summer.
“The left back/left wing back position is one we’ve been looking to strengthen for a while and he’s an Italy Under-21 international who we know has quality, good delivery and is good going forward,” Benitez said.
Newcastle, who are 14th in the league standings, visit Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir and Ed Osmond