Newcastle United are reportedly interested in signing highly coveted Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.

According to the Portuguese outlet O Jogo, SL Benfica could be battling to keep hold of their star goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos with Newcastle United eyeing a January swoop for the Greek international. The Magpies have identified the 27-year-old as a top target and want to open discussions with the Portuguese giants in the coming weeks.

After rising through the youth ranks at VfB Stuttgart, Vlachodimos was deemed not good enough to make the cut for the first team. He made three senior appearances for his boyhood club before being offloaded to Greek outfit Panathinaikos. He established himself as a regular starter between the sticks there and spent two full seasons.

Impressing the Benfica scouts, he sealed a move to Portugal in the summer of 2018 and played a vital role as they won the 2018/19 Primeira Liga title. To date, he has racked up 142 appearances for the Portuguese outfit, conceding 141 goals while keeping a solid 58 clean sheets along the way.

The last season was a reality check for the 27-year-old as he played as a second fiddle to Helton for the best part of the 2020/21 campaign. He has, however, regained his form and put up some excellent displays in the current season, with his performance in the 0-0 Champions League draw against Barcelona being a highlight.

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Despite his stock having fallen over the last year, Benfica still rate him highly. He is the Portuguese giants’ undisputed number one, and they are desperate not to lose him midway through the season. He is considered an integral part of manager Jorge Jesus’ plans.

Newcastle are expected to push for new signings in the January transfer window to boost their survival bid this season. The work to find potential targets has already started at St. James’ Park. They have been really struggling defensively – 30 goals conceded in 14 games means the Magpies boasts the worst-defensive record in the division.

But the club does not need to consider adding a new goalkeeper in the short-term, at least. Martin Dubravka is a reliable Premier League shot-stopper and is back from injury to reclaim the No. 1 spot. Mark Gillespie, Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow are also present to provide cover for the Slovakian.

While Vlachodimos would be an upgrade on Newcastle’s current backup options, there are other pressing concerns that need to be sorted out first, with defence being one of the weak links. In fact, the Greek stopper is a luxury that Newcastle simply do not need right now. Having said that, Eddie Howe might be better off looking for options in the market to bolster other areas of his squad this summer.

Nevertheless, a huge January transfer window is awaiting for the Magpies, and they need to put their chips on the right players and right areas of the pitch to get out of the current relegation muddle.

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