New York Cosmos chief hopeful over Georgios Samaras deal

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The former Celtic and West Bromwich Albion striker has been training with the NASL club since leaving the Baggies in the summer.

New York Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover has revealed that the NASL club have been in advanced discussions with former Celtic and West Bromwich Albion striker Georgios Samaras for several months about a move to the USA.

The 30-year-old free agent is currently in New York rehabbing from a back injury which prevented him from finding a new club in the summer, but he has been training with the Cosmos of late.

Speaking to World Soccer Talk, Stover stressed that talks over a permanent deal have been put on hold for the moment, but with star men Marcos Senna and Raul set to retire at the end of the season, the team hope to resume discussions with the Greece international this winter.

“Georgios is a wonderful guy and we were in advanced discussions with him going back several months,” said Stover, whose side face the Ottawa Fury in the NASL Championship game this weekend. “But he has an injury that he has been rehabilitating.

“The good thing for us is that he’s been doing that with doctors and physiotherapists here in New York, and as he’s got healthier we’ve extended an offer to him to train with us.

“The good news is that he’s progressing and getting healthier, and we certainly still have an interest in him. He’ll probably have interest abroad as well, but we hope that we can pick the conversations back up again.

“That’s all for after the season, though. Georgios is trying to get healthy quietly and he’s getting very close to that.”

Samaras, who scored 73 times in 249 games for Celtic between 2008 and 2014, spent the first half of last season at West Brom after leaving the Scottish champions on a free transfer, but the former Parkhead favourite made just eight goalless appearances for the club before being loaned out to Saudi side Al-Hilal in February until the end of the campaign.

After returning to the Hawthorns in the summer, the 81-times capped Greek agreed to terminate his Baggies contract with 12 months left to run and he has since been linked with a number of clubs.

Reports in August claimed that the two-time World Cup veteran was on the brink of joining Sampdoria, but the Serie A side later pulled out of a deal due to his aforementioned back problems [h/t].

MLS clubs were also said to be interested in his signature at the time, but it now looks like the 6ft 4in attacker’s next destination could be the US second tier instead.

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