A review of this summer’s Superleague signings
It was a busy transfer season in Greece with all 16 teams playing an active role in the summer transfer window. From the Superleague champions, Olympiacos, to the newly promoted Apollon Smyrnis, all clubs added players that will hopefully up the level of their respective teams and increase the overall quality in this year's SuperLeague.
Although Olympiacos come into the season as the favorites to win the league title, AEK, PAOK, and Panathinaikos completed some impressive last ditch signings at the end of the transfer window, leaving their respective fans optimistic for the season ahead. Panionios and Atromitos seem favorites to finish in the top-5, who appear to have stronger squads when compared to last season, while relegation favorites, Levadiakos, completed a “bam” signing with Brazilian striker Brandao.
AGONAsport breaks down the summer signings of all 16 teams in this year’s SuperLeague.
Olympiacos start the season as the favorites to win their eighth straight Superleague title. The Erythrolefki signed players for many positions, filling up the roster with depth for the long season ahead in Greece and Europe . Their presence in the Champions League qualifiers forced the club to move fast and sign Carcela, Emenike, Ofoe, Koutris, and Tachtsidis. Following the games with Partizan, Vukovic, Gillet, and Milic joined the Piraeus side. Their place in the Champions League group stages brought the signings of Proto, Djurdjevic, and Engels, who replaced Restos in the defense. At a glance and based on the amount of money spent, Olympiacos are the undisputed favorites to win the title, however their shaky start to the campaign will leave the fans worried at the start of the season.
The team that appears most ready to challenge Olympiacos’ title is AEK. The Kitrinomavri have not made major changes to their roster and having the same coach on the bench from last season, is always an advantage. Deadline deadline saw Sergio Araujo complete his return to AEK and he will be looked at as the player that will make a difference in AEK’s attacking line. In addition to the Argentine striker, Panagiotis Kone also made a comeback to the Enosis after 9 years.Traustason, Cosic, Livaja, and Lopes were also signed over the summer and will give the roster much needed depth for their Greece and European responsibilities
PAOK’s last minute signings completely turned the negative mood around at the club after their shocking exit in Europa League qualifying at the expense of Ostersund. The return of fan favorite, Adelino Vieirinha, brought much joy to the PAOK fans while the additions of Zambrano, Mauricio, and El Kaddouri are quality signings that will bring PAOK to the next level. Earlier in the summer, Robert Mak also returned to Thessaloniki on a loan deal from Zenit and will be the man up front to take charge in PAOK’s attacking line (with Prijovic).
Panathinaikos were a team that underwent major changes this summer as the Prasini saw almost half their players from last season depart the club, including Zeca, Ber, and Leto. On the other hand, 13 new players were signed including Dioudis, Kolovetsios, Insua, Johansson, Sylla, Hiljemark, Altman, Tzandaris, Luciano, Cabezas, Mounier, Chavez, and Avlonitis with hopes of salvaging a season that looks to be a lost cause from the beginning. Panathinaikos’ signings have the potential to make the club competitive in this year’s Superleague, despite the numerous off the pitch problems.
Panionios are determined to fight for a place in the top 4 for yet another season. Despite the fact that key players from last season left the club (Gianniotis, Risvanis, Ben), Panionios replaced them with quality signings including Kotnik, Banana, Kargas, Spiridonovic and Durmishaj. The Kyanerythri also completed impressive moves with the signings of Iranian international Hajsafi and the return of fan favorite Manolis Siopis, who joined on loan from Olympiacos.
Atromitos proceeded to major changes this offseason replacing almost all eleven in their starting lineup. Their goal is to appear more competitive this season and fight for a place in the top 5, which leads to European football. Many players departed the club while the additions of Risvanis, Chatziisaias, Vasilakakis, and Manousos will leave their fans optimistic for the season. The club’s surprise move was Amr Warda, who wants to restart his career after a disappointing stay at PAOK.
On the other hand, Asteras Tripolis made few changes to their existing roster. Munafo, Matida and Isnaldo arrived in Tripoli, with the latter considered to be the “game changer” in the Arkades roster. Unfortunately for Asteras, their season has gotten off to a poor start and coach Staikos Vergetis has already been sacked after three matches played.
Although PAS Giannina restricted their budget for the new season, the Epirotes made reinforcements in multiple positions this summer. Vellidis came on to replace Paschalakis in goal, while PAS also signed Chalkiadakis, Soltani, and Apostolopoulos before completing a big loan move on deadline day with Olympiacos youngster, Georgios Manthatis.
Xanthi underwent a major clean up in their roster from last season as many players departed the club, including last season's star Younes. Boula Kike, Castro, Roce, Brito, and Tzelepis moved to the Pigadia along with Slovak forward, Jendrisek, who is expected to steal the show and lead Xanthi’s attacking line.
Despite a very successful season last year, Platanias also proceeded to many changes as thirteen players left the club. The Cretans went on to sign experienced players in many positions, amongst them Pliatsikas, Stamou, Korovesis, and Stojcev, Oberhauser, Kross, N’ Sikulu, and Dikamona.
Panetolikos added experience to their roster by signing Marinakis, Cennamo, and former Greece international Vaggelis Moras. In addition, Mazurek and Diaz have shown that they can offer a lot to the team that will hope to avoid relegation this season.
Levadiakos pulled off the surprise signing of the summer with Brazilian striker Brandao. Despite being 37 years old, the former French Ligue 1 star will prove to be a valuable asset to the team from Livadia as they fight for safety this season. Apart from Brandao, Mitropoulos, Zaradoukas, Tsambouris, and Katharios also joined Levadiakos in what was a busy and impressive summer at the club.
Kerkyra grabbed players on loan including Melikiotis (AEK) and Artimatas (APOEL) while the experienced Mpalafas, Giannakopoulos, and Soiledis joined the Faiakes on permanent moves.
Larissa filled up their roster with experienced SuperLeague players including Perone, Leozinho, Lagos, Grontis, Andreopoulos, and Kousas. This is in addition to Krizman, Bozovic, and Jovanovic who also joined the Vyssini this summer.
Last but not least, Superleague newboys Apollon Smyrni and Lamia proceeded with major changes this summer in an effort to compete in Greece’s top flight and ensure their safety at the end of the season. Mendrinos, Kouros, Papazoglou, Kontoes, Anete, Castillejos, Maatsen, Babiarz, Covic and Elbaz joined the “Light Brigade while Lamia were reinforced with the signings of Koutroumanos, Papadopoulos, Panteliadis, Acosta, Anastasopoulos, Piti, and Vouho.