Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old full-back has made just nine appearances for struggling Monaco across all competitions this season, though only one of those has come since mid-November.

Why have Newcastle signed Barreca? Five key things to know…

  1. At the start of the window, Newcastle made it known they were looking to strengthen at left-back.
  2. For the first half of the season, Paul Dummett was Newcastle’s only natural option in the position.
  3. The club had previously been linked with a move for Lazio’s Jordan Lukaku but the move fell through due to problems with his medical.
  4. But the club have now confirmed the signing of Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco until the end of the season.
  5. Newcastle have also revealed they have an option to buy the full-back at the end of the season.

Newcastle have knowingly been searching for a new left-back this window and, after failing to secure the signing of Jordan Lukaku due to issues with the Belgian’s medical, have made Barreca their first signing of the month.

Speaking to NUFC TV upon his arrival at St James’ Park, Barreca said: “I am very happy to be here. I have accepted this challenge with a great deal of enthusiasm and I can’t wait to start.

“I know that Newcastle is a big and historic club. I know that the people here really love football and that the fans are really behind the team. I think that the Premier League is the best league, so for me, this is further motivation to do well.”

Barreca may be Newcastle’s first signing of the month but he is not expected to be the last, with the Magpies still tipped to bring in Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United.

Rafa Benitez welcomes new competition at left-back

Aside from versatile full-back Javier Manquillo, Newcastle do not have enough competition for starting left-back, Paul Dummett.

When the Magpies switch to a back three/five, Matt Ritchie has often been called upon to provide his services at wing-back – as he did in Newcastle’s shock 2-1 win over ManchesterCity on Tuesday.

And Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has spoken of the added competition Barreca’s arrival will bring to the club ahead of the rest of the season.

“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,” he told the club’s official website.

“He has the attributes, he has the quality and he has the characteristics that we look for.

“Now we must see how quickly he can adapt, but we will try to help him and if he can give us more competition in this area, and more quality in the final third with his deliveries, the only thing I can see is a positive.”

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