Why West Ham should reignite their interest in Andreas Samaris
According to a report from the Birmingham Live during the summer transfer window, West Ham were one of the Premier League clubs to have been credited with an interest in Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris.
The Greek international was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League on a free transfer, with Newcastle United and Wolves also in the race, but a deal failed to materialize and Samaris stayed put at Benfica after putting pen to paper on fresh terms until 2023.
The Hammers went on to complete a deal for striker Sebastien Haller while Spanish playmaker Pablo Fornals also came through the door at the London Stadium for a sizeable fee in the summer.
However, the window passed by without West Ham recruiting a new holding midfielder, something that has often been regarded as a problem area over the last 12 months.
The East Londoners were linked with a host of central midfielders across Europe but in the end, nothing came to fruition and failure to bring in a new player in that department meant that Manuel Pellegrini was going to be light in his options, especially after the departure of Pedro Obiang to Sassoulo.
Declan Rice, who was one of the standout performers for the Hammers last season, has continued his rich vein of form this term as well, while veteran Mark Noble has turned back the clock with some commanding and influential displays.
However, with Noble already on the wrong side of 30, Carlos Sanchez well past his prime and out of contract next summer and Jack Wilshere a regular on the treatment table, one does get the feeling that the Hammers would eventually need to bring in reinforcements to bolster the central midfield area.
With Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Haller, Fornals, Andriy Yarmolenko, Michail Antonio and Robert Snodgrass all in the ranks, West Ham are well-stocked with some top-quality attackers and a few able back-ups but the lack of depth in central midfield could prove to be a major stumbling block in their pursuit of European football next season.
To that end, reigniting interest in Benfica’s Andreas Samaris could potentially solve a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch for Pellegrini and with that in mind, the Hammers would do themselves a world of good by going back into the market for his services in January.
West Ham might not be looking to spend too much in the upcoming transfer window after a period of heavy investment over the past 12 months and Samaris is someone who is likely to come well within their budget despite the player signing a new contract with Benfica.
The 30-year-old plied his trade with Panachaikis and Panionios in his homeland earlier in his career and won the domestic title with Olympiacos before making a move to the Portuguese top-flight with heavyweights Benfica in 2014.
Samaris hasn’t always been a regular for Benfica but he has still managed an envious tally of 5 goals and 10 assists in 166 appearances, numbers which are quite respectable for a holding midfielder.
Calm and composed in possession and blessed with a deadly eye for key passes from the deeper areas of the pitch, Samaris is not only adept at breaking up the play and initiating attacks with his intelligent distribution but he also contributes a lot with his work rate and the ability to hold things together in the middle of the park.
Intelligent and fearless, the Benfica star also boasts of Europa League and Champions League experience in his CV, something that a club like West Ham should be looking forward to.
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The 39-cap Greek international might already be 30 but he still has two or three years remaining in his prime and West Ham making a move for him would make sense for a number of reasons.
That said, the Hammers should go back in the market for the veteran’s services in January, as his arrival could hand a massive boost to their European ambitions.