AEK scanning market for vital reinforcements
An important transfer window is awaiting AEK Athens. With a difficult 2018 approaching, the Kitrinomavri know that enforcements are required if they are to kick on and achieve success both in Greece and Europe. At this moment in time, AEK lead the Super League standings and recently qualified for the Europa League Last 32.
Head coach Manolo Jimenez is naturally concerned about the depth of his squad. AEK’s roster wasn’t the biggest to begin with, but devastating injuries suffered by key midfielders Petros Mantalos and Jakob Johansson mean that AEK are running thin on players. Andre Simoes and Kostas Galanopoulos have done a solid job of replacing them, however Jimenez has no cover whatsoever. Having decided to offload Arnor Ingvi Traustason and Patricio Rodriguez, Jimenez feels that it’s absolutely necessary for the club to purchase at least two new figures for the centre of the park.
Even if Mantalos and Johansson hadn’t received their injuries, Jimenez always wanted to strengthen the midfield in the winter. Nevertheless, given Mantalos’ long-term absence, the Spaniard is after a new team leader. While Simoes has been excellent since taking over the captaincy duties, AEK are focused on bringing in a player which possesses the ability to work hard in defence, add spark to the attack and lead the team with inspiration. Iranian midfielder Masoud Shojaei, who is creative with a handy scoring touch, is know to be admired by Jimenez. However, Masoud is rumored to be closing in on a return to former club Las Palmas from Panionios, and AEK’s board aren’t too keen on signing him. It does at least help that the experienced Panagiotis Kone is slowly getting back to his best, scoring a wonderful goal during last week’s 3:1 victory against AOK Kerkyra in Athens.
Another position which requires a boost is the left side of defence. 28 year old Helder Lopes has practically played the entire season without interruption so far, and Jimenez is aware that he will eventually need a rest. If Lopes was to suddenly get injured, it could potentially throw AEK’s season completely off course. AEK do have left back Vinicius on their books, but Jimenez has not been impressed with the Brazilian’s performances. It’s pretty much certain that Vinicius will leave the Greek capital in the next transfer window.
AEK cannot afford to keep releasing players without buying replacements. Yes, Traustason, Rodriguez and Vinicius offered little, but at least they gave Jimenez options. Taking into account AEK’s busy February schedule, especially the two Europa League battles against Dynamo Kyiv, the Enosis are intensely scanning the market. AEK’s transfer activity will give a clear indication on what their fans can expect moving forward into the spring.