Lazio deny planning move for Georgios Samaras

Georgios Samaras: Staying put. Picture: Getty
Georgios Samaras: Staying put. Picture: Getty
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GEORGIOS Samaras saw a potential move to Serie A disappear in confusion yesterday as Lazio declared that the Celtic striker is not one of their transfer targets in January.

Lazio’s sporting director, Igli Tare, categorically denied that the Italian club want to sign the 28-year-old Greek front man when the window opens next month.

Reports had claimed that Samaras – who will play in the World Cup finals this summer – was high on their shopping list but Tare insisted yesterday that they are not interested right now in the player they tried to lure from Celtic in 2011. He told a Lazio supporters’ website, Lalaziosiamonoi, that a deal for the Greece forward is not imminent. “I have not spoken with the

British newspapers,” said Tare. “We are focused on the challenge of Verona this weekend, there is time later for the (transfer) market. But Samaras? Currently, he is not a goal of Lazio.”

Tare’s response left little room for misinterpretation. The Lazio sporting director is the club’s principal authority on player recruitment and Tare also knows what it takes to play up front for Lazio, having spent three years as a striker at the

Stadio Olimpico.

Tare has admitted his admiration for Samaras, who is in the last six months of his contact and could leave Celtic as a free agent in June. The man Gordon Strachan signed from Manchester City in 2008 for £1.2million is Celtic’s second longest-serving player after Scott Brown and has gradually won over supporters during his stay.

Samaras’s performances in Europe rejuvenated his reputation. He prompted Lazio’s interest in 2011 with a Europa League display at Udinese and his Champions League goals last season enhanced that.

The fact that he will play in his third successive finals with Greece at Brazil 2014 has added to interest in him abroad.

“Personally it is a player I like a lot,” Tare stated on Wednesday. “We were interested in him also four years ago, but nothing happened. Next week we will meet with our technical Vladimir Petkovic to determine the movements of our market.”

It appears that Lazio are now shifting their attention to another Manchester City outcast to augment their forward line. Swedish striker John Guidetti, who has never made a first-team appearance for the former English champions, is being pursued by Lazio, Inter Milan and Aston Villa because of a prolific loan spell at Feyenoord when he netted 20 goals in 23 games in the Dutch league last season.

That is the same place where Neil Lennon hopes to be doing business for his own next purchase.

The Celtic manager flew back from the Netherlands yesterday after watching Alfred Finnbogason and Aron Johansson on Wednesday night in the Dutch Cup.