Newcastle United were celebrating last night despite throwing away more than £1.5m.

Silvio Maric, who cost United £3.65m only 16 months ago, completed a £2m move to Porto.

But manager Bobby Robson believes it was worth every penny of the loss to get rid of the Croatian international midfielder.

Robson lost patience with the 25-year-old, who played only a handful of Premiership games after being signed by former boss Ruud Gullit.

Maric is unlikely to be the last player to leave United before the start of the season.

West Ham are poised to sign Temuri Ketsbaia, while Marcelino, John Karelse and Laurent Charvet are set to head back to the continent.

All will be preparing for the new season in the Newcastle reserve team, which was in action at non-league Ashington last night.

The rest of Robson's squad have arrived in the United States for games against DC United in Washington on Saturday and Columbus Crew in Ohio on Wednesday.

They were joined later by winger Diego Gavilan, who starred for Paraguay in their shock 2-1 win over Brazil in a World Cup qualifier.

l Turkey midfielder Sergen Yalcin's chances of moving to Newcastle were fading last night.

Yalcin's club, Sirtjetpaspor, claimed they had finalised a £2.5m move, but Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd denied that a deal was in the pipeline.

l Former Darlington starlet James Coppinger stole the limelight with a tremendous hat-trick in United reserves' first pre-season friendly last night.

Wantaway stars Temuri Ketsbaia and Elina Marcelino, kept out of the first-team tour of America, were in the shop window.

But it was Coppinger, with two brilliant first-half goals and a third 20 minutes from time, who delighted the 1,000-plus crowd.

United's other goals where scored by Stuart Green (56) and Steve Caldwell (66).