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West Bromwich Albion misfit Georgios Samaras returns injured

Sandwell | Sport | Published:

Albion misfit Georgios Samaras will return to the club on Monday with injury already casting a cloud over his pre-season.

The Greece international will be back with the Baggies after Saudi side Al-Hilal decided not to make his loan move to the Middle East permanent.

But the 30-year-old, who was farmed out by Tony Pulis in January after failing to make any impact for the Baggies under Alan Irvine, is nursing a back injury picked up at the end of last season and already looks set to miss Albion's training camp in Austria.

Sebastian Blanco is also due back at Albion when the players report for pre-season fitness tests on Monday, but the Argentine forward is close to sealing a permanent switch back to his homeland with San Lorenzo, where he ended last season on loan.

The return of Samaras to pre-season training will provide a fresh headache for Pulis, who sees no future for the former Celtic man at The Hawthorns despite Samaras having a year remaining on the contract he signed last summer when he made the free-transfer move from the Old Firm club.

The Baggies hoped they had offloaded Samaras in January when he joined Al-Hilal on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent transfer. But he failed to settle at the club and both parties decided not to make the move permanent.

He is now likely to remain at Albion's Great Barr training ground when the squad depart for Austria on Thursday to begin an eight-day training trip that also includes a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg on July 8.

Albion will hope to use that time to find a way of offloading the ex-Manchester City man, who did not start a game for the club last season and made just eight substitute appearances in all competitions.

Blanco's exit is closer, however, with San Lorenzo keen to keep him in his native Argentina after a successful loan stint in the second half of last season.

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Talks with the Baggies are at an advanced stage. The 27-year-old made just five substitute appearances after arriving as a relative unknown from Ukranian club Metalist Kharkiv – one of a host of signings last summer that failed to break into the first team.

Winger Silvestre Varela left for Parma in January while defender Jason Davidson was released at the end of the season. Australia international Davidson has now joined Championship side Huddersfield to extend his stay in England.

The 23-year-old made only five appearances for Albion and did not feature under Pulis having failed to impress Irvine following his move from Dutch side Heracles.

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