SCOTT Parker last night insisted the last 12 months had been a "temporary blip" on an otherwise upward trajectory for both himself and Newcastle United.

Parker's protracted £6.5m move from Chelsea was finally completed yesterday, when he successfully negotiated a medical and put pen to paper on a five-year deal at St James' Park.

The move draws a line under the England international's disappointing 17-month spell at Chelsea, in which a combination of injury and lack of first-team opportunities restricted him to just 19 senior starts.

If Parker is anticipating a fresh start on Tyneside, Magpies' manager Graeme Souness must also be hoping the 24-year-old's arrival heralds better times ahead.

The Scot has presided over a series of setbacks since replacing Sir Bobby Robson last September, with Newcastle eventually slipping to their worst Premiership finish amid a backdrop of indiscipline and unease.

The club's tumultuous end to the season has not put Parker off moving to St James' Park, despite sustained interest from both Tottenham and Wigan over the last two weeks.

And, rather than reflecting on what went wrong last season, the tough-tackling midfielder is more interested in predicting what might go right during the forthcoming campaign.

"I think last year was a blip," said Parker, who was named PFA Young Player of the Year just three months after Chelsea shelled out £10m to take him to Stamford Bridge. "In terms of the league form, Newcastle obviously under-achieved.

"But you've got to remember they still got to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and did well in Europe. That's the thing with Newcastle - you're always going to be there or thereabouts.

"I think everyone was surprised by how Newcastle did last season. When a big club like Newcastle is not up there, you sometimes wonder why.

"But I'm sure that was a blip and I'm coming here with great expectations for next year. Things can only get better and that's what I'm looking forward to."

Parker's own fortunes mirrored those of Newcastle last term, with the youngster losing his way amidst the galaxy of stars competing for the limelight at Stamford Bridge.

After initially springing to prominence juggling a football in an advert for McDonald's at the age of 13, he was widely viewed as the best midfield prospect in the Premiership when he moved across London last January.

But, after failing to impress Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese moved to Chelsea last summer, a broken bone in his foot sidelined him for the second half of the season and all but sealed his fate.

"I wouldn't exactly say Chelsea were holding their hands up and pleading with me to stay," he admitted. "I don't think that was the case.

"I know I have a lot to prove now. I'm coming to Newcastle after a last year at Chelsea that was practically non-existent for me. I was injured and didn't play a lot of games.

"I went to Chelsea knowing I wouldn't be a regular straight away but that's what I wanted to be eventually. I wanted to establish myself there.

"I don't feel, coming away from Chelsea, that I've failed. I just feel like I was restricted in my opportunities. I don't think I was given the chance to show what I can do. But I'm here at Newcastle now and can't wait to get involved."

He nearly didn't make it to Tyneside at all after Tottenham tried to hijack his move to the North-East by using him as a make-weight in a compensation package for Chelsea's alleged tapping-up of sporting director Frank Arnesen.

Spurs were still making overtures at the start of the week but, while staying in London might have made sense to Parker and his young family, the views of a former Newcastle favourite helped push him towards Tyneside.

Robert Lee made more than 380 appearances for Newcastle after moving from Charlton in September 1992 and urged his fellow boyhood Addick to follow in his footsteps.

"I bumped into Robert when I was on holiday earlier this month," said Parker, who also revealed he had given the Chelsea team-talk when the Blues knocked Newcastle out of the Carling Cup at Gallowgate last November.

"He spoke really highly of the club. He said it was a great place to move to and, obviously, he came here from Charlton as well.

"He couldn't speak highly enough of the place and couldn't say enough good things about the club.

"I think the fact I've chosen to leave London says it all. It would have been easy for me to stay in London. I have a young family and I could quite easily have kept them there.

"But I think my decision shows what the club, and the manager and the chairman, have shown me. It's a big step. I'm a young man with a young family and I think my decision to come here shows the Newcastle fans exactly what this club means to me."

Parker's arrival is almost certain to herald Lee Bowyer's departure from the club, with Birmingham expected to secure his services within the next week.

Parker will still face competition from the likes of Jermaine Jenas, Nicky Butt Amdy Faye and Kieron Dyer, but Souness has admitted he sees the two-time international as the lynchpin of his midfield.

"You can certainly build your midfield around Scott," said the Newcastle boss.

"As I've said before, your midfield is a very important part of your team. We've got some excellent midfield players here and Scott will complement the ones we've got.

"I've always been an admirer of Scott. He got into the team at Charlton as a young lad and showed a determination, along with his ability, that marked him out straight away.

"I think at Chelsea, things conspired against him because he's more than good enough to hold down a regular place in that team."

With talks over the future of Inter Milan midfielder Emre ongoing, Souness refused to be drawn on the precise details of his summer plans.

But, after insisting the capture of Parker underlined Newcastle's continued pulling power, the former Middlesbrough midfielder confirmed that more new arrivals were on the cards.

"We're hoping to sign several players this summer," he said. "We're certainly looking to bring more than just Scott in."

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