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Ki Sung-yueng Joins Newcastle; Adds Midfield Depth

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The South Korean joins on a free transfer.

Korea Republic v Mexico: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

On June 29, Newcastle confirmed its first outfield signing by welcoming Ki Sung-yeung to the squad on a two-year deal. The 29-year-old Korean central midfielder was a fixture in Swansea City’s Starting XI during his six years in Wales (2012-2018). Ki is also familiar with the Northeast, as he spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Sunderland.

Ki had been rumored to join West Ham and Everton in recent months, but the chance to play under Rafa Benitez likely got him over the line. Ki joins Newcastle on a free transfer, meaning there are still concerns about Mike Ashley’s willingness to bring in the necessary talent to compete for Europe.

In the initial press release, Ki said: “I’m so pleased I can join the club. I was always pleasantly surprised when I came to St. James’ Park to play against Newcastle – there is a great atmosphere and the passion from the fans is a great support to the players.

”Everyone knows how big this club is so I’m really looking forward to playing with my teammates and for the fans.”

The central midfielder will likely compete for a starting midfield spot. Ki might be behind Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey in the opening day roster, but barring injury, he should make double-digit starting appearances next season. It is a strong signing for squad depth. However, Newcastle must continue searching for players who can improve the squad next season for a start