Milan wanted Emre
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Graeme Souness claims Newcastle beat Milan to the signing of Emre Belozoglu.Graeme Souness claims Newcastle United beat Milan to the signing of Turkey international Emre Belozoglu.
The midfielder has signed a five-year contract at St James' Park after opting to leave Internazionale.
Newcastle fended off competition from Fenerbahce and Galatasaray to sign the talented Emre but Milan were also interested in the 24-year-old.
Souness accepts it would have been hard for Emre to join the Rossoneri but the Magpies boss is still delighted to have won the chase for his signature.
"Well, there were other teams interested in him and we all worked very hard to achieve this signing," said Souness.
"He was a player much in demand in his own country and the biggest and most successful clubs in Turkey - Galatasaray and Fenerbahce - were desperate to sign him.
"Even the Prime Minister got involved to try to persuade him to stay in Turkey.
"Milan is the other big club in the city of Milan. They were interested in taking him as well but that was obviously going to be a very difficult transfer for him.
"People might not think Fenerbahce were big rivals but Milan certainly were and we're thrilled to be sitting here with him signed."
Souness is hoping Emre will inject greater balance into his team and has challenged the player to be as big a Premiership success as compatriot Tugay.
He added: "He's left footed and we think any successful team must have two or three left-footed players in it.
"He is a quality performer and has got the aggression that maybe we have been missing in midfield and, along with Scott Parker, that will improve that situation.
"He will take a wee bit of time to understand our football but I'm a great believer that if you are a proper player it will take six months to work out your team-mates.
"I'm excited about having him. I brought Tugay to England and he was a fantastic performer for me. If he comes near that mark then I'll be delighted and so will our supporters.
"There is a feeling in Turkey that he is the best player to ever come out of there and if he is we are very fortunate to have him."
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