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Despite his agent refuting all claims, Ruben Semedo is believe to be under serious consideration by Newcastle United as they look to start their summer spending earlier.
The newly promoted club are rumored to have offered £10million for Semedo, though his club, Sporting, are thought to want a little more. The Portuguese centre-back does have a release clause of £40million in his contract, though his club are not actually expecting this sort of money right now and are willing to sell.
Semedo himself wishes to move to England has attracted interest from Southampton, West Ham United and West Brom, though Rafael Benitez in him could prove too much for the young man who is set to represent his country at the Euro U-21 Championships in Poland this month.
Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles are both highly thought of at St James’ Park by Benitez and his coaching staff, thought staff they still have a lot of learning to do at the top level, along with Chancel Mbemba, Newcastle recognize that a new defender in the squad is required with Grant Hanley set to leave.
He had a brilliant season last year in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, playing 24 times and averaging a score of 6.91 on Whoscored.com. Semedo pass completion rate of over 90% in the league is truly outstanding, though he would get a lot less time on the ball in the English Premier League and so that is a figure he would be unable to keep up.
Defensively, it’s hard to fault the 23-year-old. With a boast of 1.8 tackles, 2.6 interceptions and 2.7 clearances per game for a man playing in a team which is not under a lot of pressure during game. Semedeo has a presence about him and looks as though he won’t be daunted by England’s top division.
He has been gradually introduced to the top level and has gained experience at just the right pace. 23 games in Portugal’s Segunda with Sporting’s B team in 2014 were followed by 16 in Spain’s Segunda B, playing on loan for Reus. A loan move to Vitoria Setubal in 2015/16 saw him make his Primeira debut, making 15 appearances in total before going back to Sporting and breaking into their first team. A further 14 outings came there.
In the season that just finished, Semedo played 24 times in the league and has now developed into a genuine top-level performer. A pre-season with Rafa and his team would see him learn even more experience and I would not be against the young man joining Newcastle this summer.