In Focus: Newcastle would prove ambition with Andreas Samaris signing

According to reports in the Daily Mirror, Newcastle United are closing in on a £17.5m deal to sign Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris, which would eclipse the current club-record £17m they paid for Michael Owen in 2005.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Magpies manager Rafa Benitez is keen to significantly strengthen his squad to ensure that his side aren’t fighting against relegation following their return to the Premier League next season, and the Daily Mirror says he wants the Greece international to strengthen the midfield.

The departure of chief scout Graham Carr on Wednesday means that Benitez now has more power over which players are brought in to the club, and Samaris could be the first proven performer to arrive since Carr departed with the star said to be keen on a move to England.

How did Samaris do last season?

The 28-year-old made 32 appearances in all competitions for the Portuguese giants last season as they won their third successive Primeira Liga title, with four of those outings coming in the Champions League.

Would he be a good signing for Newcastle?

He certainly would be, yes.

With an abundance of experience playing at the highest level with Benfica, in European competition and with 28 caps for Greece, Samaris could prove to be a shrewd acquisition.

The powerful defensive midfielder – who can also play in a more central midfield role when required – looks to have that winning mentality and many qualities on the pitch.

The 28-year-old is particularly comfortable in possession with a passing accuracy of 89% in his 18 league appearances for Benfica last season, and that calmness on the ball will be an attractive trait as Benitez looks for players that won’t panic next season.

Is he worth the money?

Considering he is an international midfielder that has won four consecutive league titles in Greece and Portugal and has experience of playing in the Champions League, it’s hard to argue that £17.5m isn’t a great fee.

In addition, Samaris has only just turned 28 and should be in the prime years of his career right now.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, it’s hard to see many negative points – perhaps apart from the fact that he has no Premier League experience – but if Newcastle can complete the £17.5m deal it would be a statement of intent ahead of the new season.