By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
When Romain Amalfitano walked out of the tunnel at the Sports Direct Arena for the very first time after sealing his move to Newcastle on Wednesday, the sun was shining brightly across the newly-laid pitch as the North-East basked in its warmest weather for several months.
As omens go, it was a good one for the Nice-born 22-year-old who will become the Magpies' first signing of the summer when his contract with Reims expires at the end of next month, and it was no wonder he had a sunny disposition as he looked around his new surroundings.
The midfielder, who can play wide or centrally, had previously spent his entire career in France, having played for Châteauroux, Evian and, for the past two seasons, Reims, who he helped win promotion from Ligue 2 last season.
So leaving his homeland for the Barclays Premier League is a fresh challenge for Amalfitano, but it's one he is excited about - even if he knows the climate in this part of the world is not normally quite as inviting as it has been this week.
"I've been told that this is the only two days of sun there has been all year," he smiled as he spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk. "I heard that on Saturday, it was only seven degrees but in France as well, it was seven degrees.
"Of course, coming as a French person to England is not easy because there's obviously the language barrier and I'll have to adapt as quickly as possible, because I believe how you feel on and off the pitch is connected.
"If I'm feeling relaxed and at ease off the pitch, I'll play well on the pitch so for me, the biggest challenge will be the language.
"My parents have came with me this week so that I can show them the city, and my wife will be moving with me."
And Amalfitano, whose older brother Morgan plays for Marseille, revealed that he was pleased to agree the transfer so early into the close season in order to help him to settle in and prepare properly for the new campaign.
"It was something that I did on purpose," he admitted. "I wanted to get the signing out of the way so that I can enjoy my summer knowing where my future lies, and now I can't wait to get started."
To read more exclusive interviews with Newcastle United new boy Romain Amalfitano, keep logging onto nufc.co.uk over the next few days to find out what convinced him to join the Magpies, discover his international ambitions, read about his European excitement and more...