VURNON ANITA last night agreed a three-year deal with Leeds United and said his experience of winning the title at Newcastle United would prepare him for the pressure of life at Elland Road.
The Dutchman become Leeds’ third new signing of the summer after leaving Newcastle at the end of last season.
United concluded talks with Anita yesterday afternoon, signing him on a free transfer and allowing them to unveil the former Ajax youngster at the launch of their new home kit later in the day.
Anita reached the end of his Newcastle contract a week ago following five years at St James’ Park and moved on with a title medal after helping Newcastle win the Championship in May.
Leeds fell narrowly short of the play-offs after collapsing in the last month of the campaign but Anita believes the move to Leeds would give him the chance to follow up his success at Newcastle with another promotion to the Premier League.
“For a few weeks we’ve been talking and I’m pleased to be here,” Anita told the YEP. “The main goal for me coming here is promotion.
I played here last season with Newcastle so I know what the supporters are like. They are just like Newcastle: great supporters who demand a lot. I know what to expect and I’m not afraid of that. Let’s crack on.Leeds United’s Vurnon Anita
“The club are starting a new project with promotion in mind and that was one of the things that attracted me. It’s a beautiful club and (promotion) is something we need to achieve.
“I played here last season with Newcastle so I know what the supporters are like. They are just like Newcastle: great supporters who demand a lot. I know what to expect and I’m not afraid of that. Let’s crack on.”
Anita is a recognised midfielder but filled in at right-back for Newcastle last season. Manager Rafael Benitez chose not to extend his deal, ending Anita’s five-year stay at St James’ Park, Galatasaray showed a recent interest in him.
Asked if he had been looking for a fresh start, Anita said: “Yes and no. The situation occurred that I got released, things didn’t work out with a new contract
at Newcastle, but I’m here and I’m very happy to be here. I’m ready for a new challenge and I feel that now.”
Now 28, Anita played more than 150 times for Newcastle after signing from Ajax in 2012, including 31 appearances during the 2016-17 term.
He featured in both games against Leeds last season, starting Newcastle’s 2-0 win at Elland Road in November and a dramatic 1-1 draw at St James’ Park in April.
He is due to train with United’s squad for the first time today, ahead of tomorrow’s pre-season friendly at Guiseley.
Leeds have added him to a list of signings which already includes Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich and German goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald.
The club remain in discussions about a deal for Huesca number 10 Samuel Saiz, a target who United have been pursuing intensely for the past three weeks.
Saiz is on holiday in Miami and due to fly back to Spain on Sunday. Leeds remain at the front of the queue to sign him despite a delay in forcing the move over the line.
Leeds’ home clash with Bolton Wanderers over the Easter weekend next season has been brought forward to a 3pm kick off on Good Friday, March 30, the seventh change made to the club’s schedule so far.
The club last night launched their new home and away kits for the upcoming season.