Newcastle are set to make a January move for Lisandro Lopez according to reports on Wednesday.
Rafa Benitez was credited with interest in the player in January but the price was reported by the Portuguese media to be too high for Newcastle at the time.
Now the Portuguese newspapers are claiming that Rafa has made Lopez a ‘priority’ signing for this January.
It is difficult to believe there is any substance in this one, for a number of reasons.
In Portugal, O Jogo claim that Rafa is a long-time admirer of the 28 year old but if that’s the case, the Newcastle manager hasn’t had a lot to go on.
Lisandro Lopez arrived at Benfica in summer 2013 from Arsenal (the one in Argentina) and since then, has only started 26 league games in getting on for four and a half years, though he did spend a year out on loan in 2013/14.
Last season he started six league matches and this time only one so far, even though he plays in a weak Portuguese league and Benfica are only third at the moment.
This summer saw the Portuguese media appear about as reliable as the Turkish newspapers when it came to transfer speculation.
Repeatedly, Newcastle were said to be on the brink of signing Andreas Samaris, Lopez’ Benfica teammate, for what would have been a new Newcastle transfer record of around £20m. This despite 28 year old Samaris struggling to get a game just like Lisandro Lopez, starting nine league games last season and only one this time.
More bizarrely, the Argentine is just the latest in a line of centre-backs linked with a January move to Newcastle, a position which surely is the least needy in terms of reinforcements.
Lisandro Lopez did get a start in the Champions League when Benfica lost 2-1 at home to CSKA Moscow, though he didn’t even make the squad for their last CL match, a 5-0 hammering at Basel.
In seven days time they have Manchester United to deal with but Lopez looks very unlikely to figure, though not as unlikely as Newcastle buying him in January.