Five weeks ago, an exclusive appeared from Newcastle United’s official media partner, The Mirror, saying NUFC had agreed to pay 20m euros (approx £17.5m) to secure the services of Andreas Samaris.
The combative Greek international midfielder turned 28 in June and moved from Olympiakos to Benfica for 10m euros (just under £9m) in 2014, with The Mirror claiming their inside info was that Rafa Benitez has been working on this deal for the previous six weeks, since the Championship season ended basically.
The Mirror report said that quite correctly, Andreas Samaris has helped Benfica win the domestic league title in each of the last three years he has been in Portugal, however, he has had an ever diminishing involvement.
His first season (2014/15) saw 27 league starts and one appearance off the bench.
Then the second (2015/16) season saw a reduced 19 starts and eight from the subs bench.
Finally, last (2016/17) season Andreas Samaris started only nine league matches with another nine as a sub, sitting on the bench 21 times in total.
Also, if the midfielder did arrive, don’t expect goals to be his strength, Samaris has only scored twice in three years of league football in Portugal.
Difficult to put a price on any player’s head in this crazy transfer market but obviously Newcastle wouldn’t be getting one of Benfica’s best players here, so hard to see how the midfielder would be worth anything close to that £17.5m valuation.
The Mirror obviously started their official partner arrangement with NUFC by carrying some very embarrassing initial exclusives, claiming that Charlie Austin had signed for Newcastle, then following that up by stating as fact that Saido Berahino was also definitely signing for Newcastle. The following couple of years have been no better, with The Mirror having as much credibility as The Sun with their Newcastle United transfer exclusives.
Speaking of unreliable media…the Portuguese publication O Jogo are now claiming that the Andreas Samaris transfer is ‘back on’ after Benfica agreed to drop their price.
After not being able to shift him, the Portuguese newspaper says that Benfica have now dropped their asking price from that £17.5m figure, to a lower figure of around £13m.
O Jogo claim that talks between Newcastle and Benfica have been ‘positive’ and that agreement is close.
Worth pointing out that this summer, Newcastle United have been increasingly used by the Portuguese media with regard to transfer ‘exclusives’ but their success rate has been non-existent.
Newcastle having been linked with a whole host of players who play their league football in Portugal, including in particular a host of players who don’t get a regular game for Benfica, such as Andreas Samaris.
I’m sure that the Portuguese press will one day get a successful exclusive, maybe even this one…
However, you would have to be sceptical about a player stepping up to the Premier League when having struggled to get a game in the weak Portuguese league.