NEWCASTLE: Kieran Trippier believes the sky is the limit for Newcastle United after being billed as the new Saudi regime’s first signing at Tyneside.
Trippier was revealed to the public on Friday after sealing a $ 16.2million transfer from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
And while critics claim the England international and former Manchester City, Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur defender made the switch just for money, Trippier himself says the project – and where he could take United – is what sold him to change.
“If people say it’s about the money, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But for me, know my reasons, and that’s not one of them, ”said the 31-year-old, who signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at St James’ Park.
“This club can go as far as they want, but first we have to focus on this season. It’s a big second part of the season for us players.
Trippier added: “This is an exciting project. The owners want to make this football club very successful.
“It is an exciting time to be a Newcastle fan and for the players as well,” he said. “You can see the direction the club wants to go now. “
Although money was not a big factor in the move, Eddie Howe’s presence and the desire to return to the north of England were incentives for Bury-born Trippier.
“I made it clear a few months ago that if I had the opportunity to come to the Premier League, I would like to do so,” he said.
“It’s important for my family. And I’m the kind of player who likes a challenge.
“I had a challenge at Atletico – changing countries, a different league and now I’m at Newcastle. I know the position they’re in. I’m here to help as much as possible on and off the pitch .
“As everyone knows, I have a great relationship with the manager – I’ve worked with him before,” said Trippier. “It’s a challenge that fascinates me. “
Trippier was Howe’s number one transfer target in January, with United keen to improve their defensive spell this campaign.
The Magpies have conceded the most Premier League goals – 42 – with Norwich City in 20th.
And this is the second time Howe has signed Trippier, having done so as Burnley boss, when the new Newcastle boy was just a kid climbing the ladder at Manchester City.
“He’s a great manager,” said Trippier. “I have stayed in touch with him since I left Burnley. I think it was about 10 or 11 years ago.
“I am here to fight. The players who played with me and the managers who trained me know what kind of character I am. Whatever team I’ve played for, I’m giving 110% and that’s what I’m going to do at Newcastle.
“For now, the goal is to stay in the Premier League.
“The whole project, you see the excitement around the club with the supporters, the owners and the manager. I’m delighted to be a part of it.
“We have a good team, good players and a good manager. We think we are going to stand.