According to the latest reports from the People as cited by Shields Gazette, Newcastle United are lining up a move for Olympiakos defender Leonardo Koutris. Apart from the Tyneside outfit, Everton are also said to be in the mix to sign this defender who is currently being valued at £5m.
Serie A outfit Genoa had reportedly put in a bid of £5m in January, but the Greek heavyweights managed to hold on to their defender. However, it is believed that they will be open to selling Koutris for a similar price in the summer.
The 23-year-old has represented his national side once and is currently an integral part of Olympiacos’ defence. Koutris is a left back by trade, and that is one of the positions where Rafael Benitez needs cover. The club managed to sign Antonio Barreca in January on loan from Monaco. However, it seems like the defender has failed to impress the Spanish tactician as he has continued with winger Matt Ritchie on the left when Paul Dummett has been unavailable.
Koutris hasn’t played outside of the Greek league so moving to the Premier League will be a big step in his footballing career. Nevertheless, he has to put in some top performances for his side and has looked the part in a big competition like the Europa League. So once he adapts to English football, he can be a decent long term bet for the Magpies in the left-back department.
Newcastle United are more or less certain to survive in the Premier League after their horror start to the season. The club has gone from strength to strength since Benitez took over and without the Spaniard, they could have been facing a proper relegation battle. Therefore it is imperative for the club to back a manager of Benitez’s calibre in the next transfer window so that he can get Newcastle United to challenge the top 6-7 clubs consistently.
Koutris is going to be an unknown quantity for the English fans, but he is quick, agile and committed in his task as a defender. He can carry the ball forward, and at 23, he sure can be a long term left back option for the club.
Everton are competing for his signature, but they have a decent left back in Luca Digne. Therefore Koutris might be slightly sceptical of joining them as he might not get regular game time at the Merseyside club. So as of now, we feel that Newcastle United are in a good position to land this full back.