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Benfica set to sign Sergio Romero

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Benfica have agreed a deal to sign Argentina World Cup ace Sergio Romero from Sampdoria, reports in Italy suggest.

According to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport cited by Eurosport, Romero will join the Portuguese champions for €800,000 having fallen out of favour at Sampdoria.

The 27-year-old spent last season on loan at Monaco but could only manage three appearances for the French side and the move was not made permanent.

World Cup form

Despite making just two starts during the 2013/2014 campaign, Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella kept faith in Romero and named him as his number one goalkeeper for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Romero rewarded Sabella with a number of fine displays, the most noticeable coming in the semi-final victory over the Netherlands where he saved penalties from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to help Argentina progress to the final.

Those saves made him a hero in Argentina but Dutch coach Louis van Gaal was left with a bitter taste in his mouth having given Romero his chance in Europe.

In 2007, then AZ Alkmaar manager Van Gaal signed a 20-year-old Romero and after that World Cup defeat that signalled the end of his reign as Netherlands coach, the departing boss said: “I taught Romero how to stop penalties, so that hurts. We were the club to bring him to Europe. He was a big talent, and someone who has the qualities to do that.”

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Replacement

The signing of Romero will help fill the void left by departed goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who left Benfica to join La Liga champions Atletico Madrid earlier this summer.

21-year-old Oblak only established himself in Jorge Jesus' side in the second half of the season but he impressed enough to earn himself a big money move to the Vicente Calderon.

His departure left Jesus in need of goalkeeping competition for Artur Moraes as his side look to retain their Primeira Liga crown.

Argentinian link-up

The move to Estadio da Luz will see Romero link up with his World Cup teammate Enzo Perez, as well as a number of other Argentina internationals.

Midfielders Nico Gaitan and Eduardo Salvio, defender Lisandro Lopez and striker Franco Jara have all worn the blue and white stripes of Argentina, meaning settling in in Portugal should be easy for the goalkeeeper.

Having already seen Ezequiel Garay, Lazar Markovic, Rodrigo and Oblak all leave the club this summer, Benfica fans will be delighted to see a new arrival at the club having seen league rivals Porto unveil a number of big signings, including Bruno Martins Ini and Cristian Tello.

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