Magpies close in on Simao

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PLANETFOOTBALL.COM understands that Newcastle United are closing in on the signature on Benfica winger Simao Sabrosa.

Newcastle have watched the jet-heeled winger on regular occasions this year and they are believed to be close to striking a three-year deal for the former Barcelona star.

Benfica are believed to have reluctantly agreed to sell the Portuguese international to try and ease their difficult financial situation.

The Lisbon-based giants have instructed the player's agent Jose Veiga to work out a deal with Newcastle with the Portuguese side believed to be looking for a fee in the region of £10 million for his signature.

The 23-year-old has declared his interest in moving to St James' Park as he is a big fan of English football.

"English soccer attracts me a lot because it is the most competitive of all in Europe, but I do not like to speak of the possibilty of going there because Benfica have not said anything to me," Simao told Planetfootball.

"Newcastle are a good team, and to play the Champions League pleases me, and I know that Bobby Robson has watched me many times."

Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson seemed to rule out renewing his interest in Simao, after signing Darren Ambrose and, despite snaring Lee Bowyer earlier this week it seems that Robson is keen to bring Simao on board to help his young side as he bids to sustain a serious title challenge next season.

Indeed, the Magpies chief has expressed his admiration for Simao in an interview with Radio Renaissance.

"The only way we will know ourselves if Simao can impress in England is if a club buys him and hands him an opportunity," stated the former England boss.

"He is a good player and still young. He is very small but has a lot of technique and ability.

"I find that, as he has played in Benfica, perhaps he is able to play in any side.

"I have already watched him in two games this season and I discovered that he is better than anyone at that age. 

"But I am not going to discuss our business in public. Any business that we do is a matter for the club, and the company, and not for the press."