Newcastle United’s reported interest in Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris was one of the longest running sagas in the summer transfer window.
After weeks of ‘will he, won’t he’, the Greek international eventually didn’t and stuck with the Portuguese champions beyond the August deadline despite The Mirror reporting that Newcastle had held talks with Benfica over a potential £17.5 million deal.
The report adds that Benitez and Samaris himself were keen on the move but, with a limited budget restricting The Magpies in the transfer market, the 28-year-old was not prepared to wait around any longer with the deal dragging on.
Though reports in the Shields Gazette that Newcastle sent scouts to watch Benfica’s opening Champions League group stage clash with CSKA Moscow will raise speculation that a deal for Samaris may be revisited in January.
However, if Samaris was the reason why Newcastle attended the game at the Estadio da Luz, they will have been left disappointed as he failed to make it off the bench as CSKA held on for a valuable 2-1 win.
Samaris, who joined Benfica from Olympiakos for £8.8 million in 2014 (Mirror), was not a regular in the starting XI last season and has only featured once in the opening weeks of the new Primeira Liga season.
Therefore, it appears that a move to Newcastle might have been beneficial for Samaris in a World Cup year though, as it stands, Greece are a point behind Bosnia in qualification.