Hasi Faced With Big Roster Decisions
As Olympiacos get closer to completing their first stage of preseason in Austria, new manager Besnik Hasi must begin the difficult process of making decisions about his roster.
With national team players only having joined this week, Hasi was able to at least get a glimpse of fringe players in the first week of preseason. With over 30 players currently in the squad, it’s a certainty that some players will be cut, with the club looking to sell them on or loan them out. AGONAsport breaks down the current roster and gives a glimpse into what Hasi faces considering the club are still looking to make more signings.
Goalkeepers: Kapino, Gianniotis, Houtesiotis, Skafidas
Kapino heads into this season as the undisputed number one. It appears as Gianniotis after a solid season with Panionios on loan will be the back-up. Houtesiotis looks likes he will stay on as the third goalkeeper in the squad. Amongst the many unknowns at this point is whether the youngster Skafidas has done enough to be kept in the first-team or whether Hasi feels the need that another goalkeeper should be acquired. At this stage, it looks likely that the trio of Kapino, Gianniotis, and Houtesiotis will be the ones to start the campaign.
Defenders: Figueiras, De la Bella, Koutris, Viana, Cisse, Risvanis, Nikolaou, Retsos, Botia, Toli, Da Costa, Elabdellaoui
The big questions at the back is in central defense. This is where Olympiacos need the most reinforcement, but also ironically where they have the most players. The likes of Botia, Retsos, Nikolaou, and a new signing seem certain to be in this season’s squad. After that it appears to be a battle between two new signings Cisse and Risvanis, and Viana and Da Costa for another roster place. That is also assuming that the club don’t pick up any other center-backs. What this all means is that at least a couple of the central defenders at Seefeld, Austria right now will either be sold or loaned out.
In the fullback positions the situation is a little clearer. Figueiras is tabbed as a starter at right-back, with Elabdellaoui’s future remaining unclear after a loan spell in England last season. De la Bella begins as the favorite for left-back, however Koutris has been very impressive during the preseason and will look to challenge for playing time. The wide back spots are in contrast to the central defender positions in so far as that the club will be looking to add to depth there rather than sell or loan players.
Midfielders/Wingers: Androutsos, Bouchalakis, Seba, Fortounis, Romao, Zdjelar, Siopis, Marin, Gianniotas, Manthatis, Martins, Kasami, Megaritis, Doumanis, Vrousai
Several midfielders seem safe to begin with including Romao, Fortounis, Martins, and Seba. Marin seems to have won over Hasi and the German is set for a more inclusive role this season in comparison to last. Siopis and Zdjelar appear to be in Hasi’s plans at this early stage and it’s unlikely that Androutsos will leave considering his performances last season. The big question concerns Kasami. He is a quality player, but the feeling is whether he has properly applied himself while at the club. Hasi has been nitpicking the Swiss midfielder all preseason. Whether that is an indication of him believing in the player or not remains to be seen.
Seba is a shoo-in on the flanks, though there is more uncertainty about Elyounoussi’s long-term future in Piraeus. Manthatis should continue to get more playing time this season, though he could have to fight it out with the players mentioned as well as new recruits. And Olympiacos are almost certain to add 1-2 players in the wide attacking positions. Whether Gianniotas will finally be given a real shot also remains to be seen.
Forwards: Vergos, Ansarifard
Vergos has shown good quality in preseason and he seems to have improved steadily in the past two seasons especially after his time in Spain with Real Madrid B. Ansarifard begins the season as the first-choice striker, however that could change quickly as Olympiacos seem set on the purchase of a main striker, one who slot right into the starting line-up.