Newcastle sign Belgium goalkeeper Matz Sels from Gent

Newcastle have signed goalkeeper Matz Sels from KAA Gent for an undisclosed fee.

Sels, 24, has signed a five-year contract after the two clubs agreed a reported £4.5 million, making him Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez's first summer signing.

Middlesbrough had also been reported to have held talks with Sels, but Benitez has made bringing in a goalkeeper his first priority after agreeing to remain at St James' Park following relegation to the Championship.

"I am really pleased to welcome Matz to the club," Benitez said. "He's a fantastic goalkeeper and many top clubs have been interested in signing him.

"Obviously we have injuries to Tim Krul and Rob Elliot which could be difficult for us in the first part of the season, so it was important to strengthen in this area to be sure we can make a strong start in the Championship."

Sels, voted goalkeeper of the year in Belgium last season, joined Gent from Lierse in January 2014 and went on to make 106 appearances in all competitions for the club, helping them win the Jupiler Pro League title in 2014-15.

He was included in the senior Belgium squad ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifiers with Andorra and Israel last October, but missed out on selection for the finals in France.

He has represented his country at every age group from under-17 to U21 level.

"I'm very pleased -- I'm very happy to be here," Sels said. "In Belgium, Newcastle is a really big club, and that's why I chose Newcastle.

"As soon as Newcastle showed their interest in me and I spoke to the coach Rafa Benitez, it was an easy decision to make."