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Samaras moves to Celtic on loan

Greece striker Giorgos Samaras, who has struggled to establish his place at English Premiership club Manchester City since joining two years ago, moved to leading Scottish club Celtic on a six-month loan, it was announced yesterday. The loan agreement also provides Celtic with the option of acquiring the striker for 4.5 million euros. «I’m really delighted,» the 22-year-old told the club’s website. «It’s the biggest club in Scotland and I’m looking forward to winning games and to win the title we have targeted,» Samaras continued. Celtic is currently placed second in the Scottish Premier League, seven points behind archrival Glasgow Rangers, which has played an additional game. Celtic is also preparing to face Barcelona in a Champions League home-and-away tie, scheduled for February 20 and March 4, for a place in the lucrative club-level competition’s quarterfinals. Samaras, who has represented Greece 12 times, admitted hoping that this latest move will help him secure a place in the national team squad for the Euro 2008 finals this coming summer in Austria and Switzerland, where Greece will defend its European title. «One of the reasons I signed here is because I will use the games to help Celtic, and, of course, for the chance to be part of the Greek national team for the summer,» said Samaras. «I’m here to help Celtic and for Celtic to help me,» he continued. Samaras moved to Manchester City from Dutch side Heerenveen in a 6.8-million-euro deal, but the tall striker has not featured in coach Sven-Goran Eriksson’s plans this season. Samaras scored eight goals in 55 appearances at Manchester City. He had moved to the Netherlands from Greece as a 16-year-old to focus on a soccer career.