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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

BERLIN: Newcastle United have signed Brazilian forward Joelinton from Hoffenheim, the Premier League club said Tuesday in what is the biggest transfer fee in their history.

The 22-year-old will wear Newcastle's number nine shirt -- made famous by Alan Shearer among others -- after agreeing to a six-year deal reported to be worth up to 45 million euros.

Joelinton Cassio Apolinario de Lira started his football career at Brazil's Sport Recife, before joining Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

He played on loan for Austria's Rapid Vienna for two seasons before returning to Hoffenheim, where he scored seven goals in 26 games last season in the Bundesliga, as well as notching three goals in the German Cup.

"I'm really happy to be here," Joelinton said in a Newcastle statement on Tuesday.

"I know it's a large investment that the club has made in me, and that comes with a huge responsibility."

"I'm highly motivated and hope to give back on the pitch."

New Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said the club was delighted to get the "smashing young player".

"He's got everything that a modern-day player wants. He's big, strong and athletic, and of course he's got age on his side too which is vitally important," Bruce said.

"He's learned the history and wanted it (the number nine shirt), and that's always a big shirt to fill. But in his eyes, it was 'bring it on -- it's what I'm here for'."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019