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Newcastle goes big in January

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) – Threatened by relegation and now having the richest owners in world football, Newcastle was always likely to be the English Premier League’s most active club in the January transfer window.

Five players have moved to St James’ Park this month at a cost of more than USD120 million as the club’s Saudi ownership made its presence felt in the first transfer window since largely funding the GBP300 million takeover of Newcastle in October.

Only time will tell if the signings are enough to keep Newcastle in the league – the team is in the relegation zone, one point from safety with 17 games left – but the squad certainly looks in much better shape. A look at the arrivals:

Kieran Trippier: The first incoming player, and a signature one. Trippier is an England international and had been playing for Spanish champion Atletico Madrid, giving him the kind of profile that Newcastle wouldn’t have been able to attract before its takeover. Trippier cost a reported GBP12 million.

Chris Wood: In a move that weakened one of its relegation rivals, Newcastle signed the New Zealand international from Burnley after triggering the release clause of GBP25 million in his contract.

ABOVE & BELOW: Kieran Trippler; Bruno Gulmaraes; and Chris Wood. PHOTOS: AP

Dan Burn

Wood had been a guarantee of goals at Burnley, reaching double figures in every full season there.

Bruno Guimaraes: The costliest signing, and a much-needed one given Newcastle’s lack of quality in central midfield. The 24-year-old Guimarães joined for EUR50.1 million – plus 20 per cent of any future sell-on value – after two years at French club Lyon.

He is a Brazil international with three caps to his name.

Matt Targett: Targett has joined from Aston Villa on loan until the end of the season, and has proven Premier League experience having also played for Southampton.

Dan Burn: The final signing came in the final minutes of the window and it brought a local boy back home.

Burn, a rangy centre back, was released by Newcastle at age 11 and returns 18 years later for GBP13 million.

“It’s something I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid,” he said.

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