Former Bristol City academy product to become Newcastle United's first summer signing

Former Bristol City defender Lloyd Kelly has reached a verbal agreement to sign for Newcastle United, as his contract at Premier League rivals Bournemouth expires later this month.

The Telegraph report that Kelly has a medical booked, will sign a five-year deal deal, with the option of a further 12 months, and the move is likely to be confirmed when the transfer window opens on Friday.

The switch to the north east reunites Kelly with former Cherries manager Eddie Howe, who signed him from City in 2019 for a fee in the region of £13 million plus significant appearance-based add-ons. City have held a 20 per cent sell-on clause throughout that agreement, but it’s now irrelevant due to Kelly’s status as a free agent.

Howe has been determined to strengthen his backline following injuries to Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles, with neither expected to return until the end of the year. Kelly can operate as a centre-back and left-back providing quality and depth to a Magpies squad which ended up shipping 62 goals last term, the second worst among the Premier League’s top eight.

Kelly has reportedly rejected a number of other clubs in England and across Europe, having previously been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus.

Since leaving Ashton Gate, where he had emerged through the club academy after signing from Bristol Central aged 12, making 48 appearances from 2017 to 2019, Kelly has established himself as a proven Premier League performer, albeit with his progress significantly hindered by injury issues.

The Bristolian has made 54 appearances for the Cherries in the top flight but his only 40+ game seasons have been in the Championship, as he's dealt with various hamstring, muscle and ankle problems.

Bournemouth have been aware of Kelly’s departure for some time, with head coach Andoni Iraola noting at the end of the season : “I think probably he will play somewhere else. The only thing I can say is I thank him for everything, because he has given everything until the last minute.

“Performance-wise, his season has been very good. Probably he hasn’t played the games that he wanted because of the injuries, but I will repeat it again, he is one of our best players.”

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