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Who is Benfica midfielder, and Newcastle United target, Andreas Samaris?

Jake Jackman

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Newcastle United will be hoping for significant progress in the transfer market during the coming days and one player that continues to be linked to the newly-promoted team is Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris. The Mirror reported last week that the Magpies were closing in on a £17.5 million transfer for the Greek international, after Rafa Benitez had been working on the deal for over a month. Meanwhile, O Jogo in Portugal reported yesterday that the deal was still in the works and that an agreement is likely.

Who is he?

The 28-year-old is a central midfielder that likes to dictate the tempo and get on the ball as much as possible. On occasion, he has been used as a centre-back, which shows that he is comfortable with the defensive and physical sides of the game, but he is best utilised in the centre of the park. Samaris possesses a winning mentality after winning the league title in his last four seasons (one in Greece and three in Portugal). For the Greek national team, he has had 28 caps and featured at the 2014 World Cup.

Where has he been?

His career started at Greek lower league team Panachaiki and he played for them for a total of three seasons, before moving to top division side Panionios. It was during his spell with the Superleague outfit that he made a name for himself, which resulted in a transfer to Olympiakos. He played in the Reds’ first team for only one season, but in that year, he earned his first Greek cap and won the top flight title.

It was his form during that campaign that led to a move to Benfica. He was excellent for two seasons in Portugal and although his most recent campaign wasn’t the best, he is in the prime of his career and remains respected across Europe.

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What’s his style of play?

The Greek international is a good passer of the ball and rarely gives the ball away, which makes him a good player to have in the middle of the park. Last season, he finished with a pass success rate of 89.3% in the league. In addition to that, he is a good tackler and his physicality is one of his greatest assets, as he can use his power to win back the ball.

One worry with his defensive work is that he can pick up too many bookings – he was given three in only 141 minutes of Champions League football last season. As an attacking threat, Samaris poses a threat from range as he has a powerful long shot. This will be something to keep an eye on if he does move to Newcastle.

What does it mean for Newcastle?

During their successful Championship campaign, Newcastle did lack depth in midfield and they were reliant on Jonjo Shelvey for creativity from deep. This is an area that needs to be addressed, as competition is vital in the Premier League. Samaris would provide that for Shelvey, while his defensive qualities mean that he could strike up a good partnership with the one-time England international, if that is how Benitez chose to line-up.

This summer, the Magpies will be looking for players that can increase the talent in the squad and hope that it will lead to the current players raising their games. Samaris is a good example of an experienced player with a winning mentality, who can do just that. The rumoured price tag is high, but it would be a statement of intent and he is a player that should transition quickly to English football.

Featured image: All rights reserved by infobansbo

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

Sam Allardyce’s tactical masterstroke responsible for Everton success

The Toffees boss has been heavily criticised since his arrival at the club.

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Photo: Getty Images

Under-fire Everton manager Sam Allardyce engineered a tactical masterstroke during his side’s 1-0 Monday night win over Newcastle United.

By switching the positions of Everton’s two wingers, Allardyce directly contributed to the winning goal and proved his worth to the Goodison Park doubters.

For much of the first half, Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott were frustratingly ineffective when stationed on the left and right wings respectively.

Bolasie constantly declined to whip in crosses when given time, instead opting to idle on the ball and lose possession through poorly-executed bits of skill. When the Congolese international decided to put in service to the box, it regularly failed to meet an Everton shirt.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

On the opposite wing, Walcott was largely anonymous and had little impact on proceedings, suffering from a lack of service.

However, Yet Allardyce’s swap proved instantly effective just minutes into the second half. Bolasie collected the ball on the right wing, just inside the Newcastle half, and drove purposefully down the line with his favoured right foot.

The former Crystal Palace man then lofted in a looping, inviting ball to the back post, where now left winger Theo Walcott was waiting in a perfect position.

After a kind ricochet, the ball fell kindly to the Englishman, who lashed home an emphatic strike to give Everton the lead.

(during the Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on April 23, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

It was a perfect reward for the tactical nous of the Everton manager, with his intelligent switch directly resulting in the crucial strike for the Toffees.

The success of the switch provided a much-needed boost for Allardyce, who had endured an uncomfortable week. After a much-publicised club survey asked supporters to rate the manager on a scale of 1-10, the experienced manager had faced embarrassing questions over his future.

There was no better response than an inspired tactical shift that handed Everton all three points,  proving his worth to the Goodison Park faithful.

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English Premier League

Rolando Aarons looks set for second relegation in a row

The Newcastle United winger joined Italian side Hellas Verona on loan in January.

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Despite losing to Everton in the Premier League last night Newcastle United should be safe in the Premier League this season. It has been a tough campaign back in the top-flight but Rafa Benitez has worked wonders with his squad and the Toon Army now look set for another season in the Premier League.

But whilst Newcastle’s current players are safe from relegation, one of their more talented players currently out on loan looks set to suffer a drop.

Rolando Aarons’ career has been blighted by injury problems. When he burst onto the scene at Newcastle in 2014 it seemed as though the club had a future star on their hands. A performance against Crystal Palace that August had Newcastle fans extremely excited about the future for the Jamaican-born talent.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

However, problems soon beset the youngster. After suffering a hamstring problem on international duty he spent six weeks on the sidelines. Hamstring trouble has since gone on to plague the wide man as well as a foot problem and anterior cruciate ligament injury. Since that breakthrough season in 2014-15 Aarons has only managed to play 21 times for the club in the following three campaigns.

This term he has been, for the most part, fit, but not in the plans of Benitez. Therefore, in January, he took the bold move of heading to Italy on loan. The 22-year-old joined Hellas Verona on loan until the end of the season in a bid for regular first-team football.

He joined former Newcastle coach Fabio Pecchia, now the boss at Verona, in the hope of playing regularly and finding his best form.

But, for the second season in a row, it seems Aarons will suffer relegation from the top-tier. Verona are currently 19th in the table, six points away from local rivals Chievo and Crotone and potential safety.

(Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

To stay up, Verona need results in their final four games of the season. Whilst the home games against fellow relegation fighters SPAL and Udinese might give them hope, fixtures away to Milan and Juventus have seen many pundits in Italy forecasting their doom.

Aarons has played eight times for Verona since arriving at the club but has had limited impact. No goals and no assists in his 137 minutes of Italian football so far.

It seems that Aarons still has a long way to go until he can recapture his best form. The move to Verona has not been a success, but it was at least a brave switch from the young winger.

This summer he will be working hard to maintain his fitness and attempt to become a regular at Newcastle next season.

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England National Team

“No surprise”: Twitter reacts to rumours of Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey’s England return

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Photo: Getty Images.

When news broke that Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could be in line for an England recall, fans around the country reacted in a variety of ways, both of joy and dread, that the former Liverpool man could be on the plane to Russia.

The Times say that his form, combined with fitness concerns over Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana, have put him in the frame, and England boss Gareth Southgate is set watch as his Magpies team face Everton on Monday.

The 26-year-old has been key to Rafa Benitez’s side this season as they have re-established themselves back in the top flight of English football.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Shelvey has already got six England caps to his name, the most recent coming in November 2015 against France, and he could now earn a return two and a half years later.

His sparkling form has caught the eye as all three goals he has been involved with this season (one goal and two assists) have come in his last four appearances.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news…

Many believed it was about time…

Plenty made comparisons to the alternatives, with two in particular coming up a few times…

He’s made some eat their words…

Yet not all agreed…

After three years in the international wilderness, Jonjo Shelvey will need to maintain his current form if he is to enter into the fight to earn himself a ticket on the plane to Russia as a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad to face Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in World Cup Group G.

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