Few expected Andreas Samaris to still be a Benfica player with less than a week to go before the end of the summer transfer window.
The Greek international had been linked with a move to Newcastle United throughout the majority of the summer, with the Sun claiming that he had held talks with the St. James’ Park club and was keen on a move to the Premier League.
However, with the budget tight at Newcastle, and manager Rafael Benitez frustrated by the club’s lack of spending, it appears that they have missed out on signing the £17.5 million-rated midfielder.
Yet it appears that another Premier League side came even closer to landing Samaris this summer. Portuguese newspaper A Bola reports that the 28-year-old was on the verge of moving to West Bromwich Albion, The Baggies prepared to shatter their transfer record to bring Samaris to The Hawthorns.
An intelligent, technically gifted and hard-working midfielder renowned for his ability to win back possession and distribute it efficiently, Samaris’ combination of brains and brawn would surely have made him an excellent fit for a Tony Pulis side.
However, Benfica are notoriously difficult to negotiate with and the report adds that the Portuguese champions called off the deal due to concerns about the injury record of Lubomir Fejsa (below), the other defensive midfielder in their squad.
Consequently, with just a few days to go before the window slams shut, West Brom are still in the market for a defensive midfielder.
Although with Turkish outlet Skor claiming that Fenerbahce will sell Josef Souza to the Baggies after they lodged a £10 million bid, it seems they have found a cheap and astute alternative.