Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Viana Set for United Return

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Viana Set for United Return

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Hugo Viana could be given the chance to rebuild his Newcastle United career this summer after it emerged that Graeme Souness is considering the revitalised midfielder in his plans for a brighter future at St James's Park.

The 22-year-old failed to make an impact in the Premiership after arriving on Tyneside in an pounds 8.5m move from Sporting Lisbon two-and-a-half years ago.

But, since rejoining his former club on a season-long loan deal, Viana has recovered the form which saw him crowned European Young Player of the Year in 2002.

Having won an international recall, a player whose lack of first-team outings last season cost him a place in Portugal's Euro 2004 squad will win his first senior cap in 10 months against the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road this evening.

And it seems that Viana's recent progress has not gone unnoticed in the North-East ( with Souness and his scouting staff having kept a close eye on the talented midfielder since arriving on Tyneside.

"We are all well aware that Hugo is having a good season in Portugal and Graeme is keen to have another look at him," explained chairman Freddie Shepherd of a player who struggled to live up to his reputation under Sir Bobby Robson. "He will approach the situation with an open mind and with no pre-conceived ideas."

Viana has flourished under the guidance of Jose Peseiro this season and, having helped Sporting keep up with Porto in the domestic table, his recall by national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is a reward for an impressive personal campaign.

Having signed a 12-month extension to his current deal last summer the player is contracted to United until 2008. And with Newcastle keen to protect a sizeable investment ( the Magpies paid a new world-record fee for a teenager when they signed him in 2002 ( it would take a major offer to persuade Shepherd to sell. …

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