SPORTS

Man City signs Greek striker

Manchester City has signed the highly rated young Greek striker Giorgos Samaras for 8.8 million euros and four-and-a-half years from Dutch side Heerenveen, the English Premiership club said yesterday. City, currently 10th in the 20-team Premiership, needed to double its previous offer before striking a deal with the Dutch first-division club for the 20-year-old Greek player. An agreement was reached last Saturday, and Samaras passed his medical on Monday. Despite the club’s eagerness to sign the Greece under-21 striker, Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce warned that Samaras would not walk straight into the first team. He has been included in the squad for today’s home match against Newcastle United. «He’ll be in and fighting for a place. He’s got to join the squad running and force me to pick him,» said Pearce, who offloaded striker Robbie Fowler back to hometown club Liverpool last week. Nonetheless, Pearce told Manchester City’s website yesterday that he had high hopes for Samaras. «It’s the overall package that you get with him,» Pearce said. «He’s 20 years old, we feel that we have someone at the right end of their career, someone who will mature and get better and better. He’s a good footballer, he has a solid background and I think I played against his father in the Greek national side,» Pearce noted. «Talking with him, he’s a very level-headed lad, he knows what he wants out of football and he’s very career-minded, which is a good thing. I think this football club for him at this stage of his career is a great move, for him as well as it is for us.» Giorgos Samaras’s father, Australia-born Yiannis Samaras, also a striker, had played with Panathinaikos and OFI during the late 1980s and 1990s. Earlier this month, Arsenal was reportedly thinking about signing Samaras. But Heerenveen had apparently rejected the major London club’s reported 5.6-million-euro offer as insufficient. At the time, Heerenveen’s team manager had told BBC Sport that Arsenal was not the only club interested in signing Samaras. (Kathimerini, Reuters, AFP)