Newcastle continued their overhaul ahead of the Championship season with the double signing of Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark and Hull's Mohamed Diame on Wednesday.
Republic of Ireland international Clark joined for an undisclosed fee while Newcastle used a release clause in Diame’s contract to sign him from Hull, with the Senegal midfielder turning down the offer of a new deal with the troubled Premier League newcomers.
Clark and Diame are the seventh and eighth players to join Rafa Benitez’s squad ahead of their season opener away to Fulham on Friday.
Hull are without a manager, facing a fan revolt against the club’s ownership, and yet to make a signing this summer — all of which could have contributed to Diame’s decision to return to the Championship so soon after scoring the play-off final winner which earned the Tigers promotion in May.
“It is a great feeling to be a Newcastle player,” Diame, 29, told the Tyneside club’s official website after signing a three-year deal.
“Everybody close to me knows how desperate I am to play in the Premier League again, but when Newcastle come in for you it makes you think.
“I am looking to the future. Newcastle is a big name, a massive club and will be back in the Premier League, for sure.”
Benitez, who could yet lose in-demand midfielder Moussa Sissoko, said: "Mohamed is a strong, attack-minded player with a lot of fight and determination to his game.
“He is also someone who will provide the team with goals and assists from midfield.
“He has good experience of the Championship and the fight needed to win promotion, which will be important for us.”
The versatile Clark, 26, can play at centre-back, left-back or in a holding midfield role, and has put pen to paper on a five-year contract at St James’ Park.
Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo will be disappointed to lose Clark to another club who were also relegated from the Premier League last season, having recently expressed his desire to keep him, but Benitez was happy to snap him up.
“Ciaran is a very versatile player, as a left-footed centre-back he can also play left-back and also as a defensive midfielder,” the Spaniard told his club’s official website, nufc.co.uk.
“He has a lot of experience of English football and will add good balance and competition to our squad.
“I am sure he will progress with us here at Newcastle, we are very happy for him to join us.”
Clark came through the ranks at Villa before making his debut for the club in August 2009, while still a teenager.
He soon became a regular in the side and over the following six seasons went on to make more than 150 appearances, scoring 10 goals.
Clark has won 19 caps for the Republic of Ireland and represented his country at this summer’s European Championship in France, scoring an unfortunate own goal in their 1-1 draw with Sweden.