Benfica confirm Magpies' Simao move

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BENFICA have confirmed that Newcastle made enquiries for Simao Sabrosa but admit the two parties were long way apart over any potential deal for the pacy winger.

Directors at the cash-strapped Portuguese outfit told that they had placed a ‚é¼16 million price-tag on the former Barcelona star's head, and that The Magpies were not prepared to meet that figure.

They added that the club were in no rush to cash in on the player, and that manager Jose Antonio Camacho had asked for Simao to be retained 'in order not to weaken (Benfica's) future project'.

There is also interest in the 23-year-old from Spanish and Italian clubs, and the player himself concedes that he would seriously consider any offer from a big European team.

"I am happy in Lisbon but, professionally, if an interesting offer arrived I would have to study it," said the Portuguese international.

Speaking of English football, he added: "It's the best championship in Europe along with Spain and Italy. Of course I would like to play for one of the big clubs in The Premiership."

Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson seemed to rule out renewing his interest in Simao, stating that he had bought Darren Ambrose to fill the role for which he had been lining up the Portguese star.