- Drastic Changes Expected at Olympiacos -
Drastic changes are set to take place at Olympiacos after being eliminated from the Champions League by Hapoel Be’er Sheva. A new coach and signings are expected to be announced this week while multiple current players will be released, sold, and loaned out.
Victor Sanchez, who moved to Olympiacos at the beginning of the summer, is spending his last hours in charge of the Greek Champions. He will be the first major change at Olympiacos and the team is expected to announce a new manager today (Monday, August 8). Mario Ouzounidis (currently coaches Panionios) seemed to be the favorite for the position, but an immediate reaction and disagreement from the fans quickly prevented his move to Piraeus. Former Inter coach, Leonardo, is the new “favorite” to take over Olympiacos and is in Athens to discuss deals with the club. Leonardo is awaiting other offers from Italy (including Inter Milan) which could breakdown the deal with Olympiacos. The Erythrolefki have been rumored to be interested in other coaches including Hubert Fournier, Rémi Garde, Marcelo Bielsa, Rudi García, Paulo Bento, Miroslav Đukić, and former Olympiacos coach Michel.
The current roster will quickly begin to change after Olympiacos' new coach is announced. Kasami signed an on loan deal to Nottingham Forest earlier in the week while Arthur Masuaku is in England to complete a transfer move to West Ham. Olympiacos will receive an €8 million transfer fee for the French left-back which will help the team financially, after losing a projected €20 million (the amount Olympiacos would have received if they participated in the Champions League Group Stage). Jimmy Durmaz and Manuel da Costa have been asked to look for a new club as both Figueiras (whose performance has been very poor) and Maniatis will most likely be loaned out for the season. Figueiras was a personal selection of former coach Marco Silva when he joined the club earlier in the summer. With the departure of Figueiras, Salino could possibly return to the Piraeus after his contract was not renewed at the end of this season. It is rumored that both Ideye and Seba have also made the “blacklist” of transferring out. Finally, if a good offer comes in for Luka Milivojevic (€8 million or over), the club will consider his move with Fiorentina showing heavy interest in the Serbian player.
Olympiacos is predicted to make 4-5 new signings this week in positions where players are lacking. This includes multiple players for center back, right back, winger, defensive midfielder, and striker. The Erythrolefki have eyes on many options with no clear favorite for either of the positions. Some players that have been in talks over the last couple of days include Nemanja Nikolić (forward), Mathieu Valbuena (midfielder), Mathieu Flamini (defensive midfielder), and Giancarlo "Pipo" González (center-back). Multiple signings could be announced today since Olympiacos is on a time crunch to submit a list of players to UEFA for the upcoming Europa League Playoffs (due today, Monday).
As far as management, CEO Ioannis Vrentzos resigned from his position while former Olympiacos players Francois Modesto and Ariel Ibagaza will return to the club. Modesto was named the Athletic Director and Ibagaza’s knowledge combined with his leadership capabilities, will give him a position on the new coaching staff. Additionally, Vaggelis Marinakis increased the team’s capital by putting €20 million into the club after their elimination (and huge financial loss) from the Champions League.
This next week will be extremely critical for Olympiacos' season as they will give their first Europa League Qualifying match against Arouca in 11 days (Thursday, August 18) as the SuperLeague opener is schedule for next weekend (14 days).
**Olympiacos seemed much improved, with lots of young-Greek talent, in their 1-0 friendly loss to Besiktas in Turkey earlier today.**