Newcastle have confirmed the signing of Patrick Kluivert from Barcelona. The Dutchman has signed what is thought to be a three-year contract with the Premiership club.

Striker Kluivert has moved on a free transfer announced at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The 28 year-old immediately praised the set-up at Newcastle.

“It’s a great club with great players and I hope I can fit in. I hope in the year that’s coming they are going to be in the Champions League,” he said.

The Magpies were equally pleased with their new acquisition, manager Sir Bobby Robson stating: “He is one of the most significant signings in Newcastle in many years, it is like the feeling when Alan Shearer came home.”

Negotiations began in earnest when Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd met Kluivert’s agent Paul Foortse on Tuesday, flying back from the club’s Far East tour.

With a new striker installed at St James Park, possibly a long-term successor to Alan Shearer – who hangs up his boots at the end of next season – the Magpies may now give up any interest in Southampton’s James Beattie.

Kluivert has 79 caps for his country, but was disappointed to play no part in the Euro 2004 tournament, sitting on the bench as Ruud van Nistelrooy took the role of lone striker.