New cuts at Panathinaikos anger Ouzounidis

New cuts at Panathinaikos anger Ouzounidis
 

The meltdown at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium continues. Already in a messy financial state, Panathinaikos now face the reality of new cuts being introduced which could leave the team relying on academy prospects until the end of the season.

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Languishing in a distant eighth position of the Super League, trailing leaders and arch-rivals Olympiacos by a large 19 points, the Greens need something to change. However, with no future investor found and debts growing, the mess is only getting worse. Recently, outgoing major shareholder Giannis Alafouzos stated that Panathinaikos’ player budget must be slashed from around 5.7 to 4 million euros, meaning that the Athenian giants have no choice but to remove all major earners from the roster.

Naturally, head coach Marinos Ouzounidis is not a happy man. Taking into account that Panathinaikos are seriously struggling with their current squad, it’s hard to imagine how the team will perform without any high quality players, especially given that the Greens still have matches against Olympiacos, AEK and PAOK to come in the Super League. In an interview with Nova Sports in Greece, Ouzounidis spoke of his annoyance. “I disagree with the new plan,” stated the 49-year old. “Unfortunately, the plan changes every week. The cost of this team has to fall from around 6 to 3 million euros, but this is not a plan of salvation. I disagree one hundred percent with the plan, it is not realistic.”

Ouzounidis was asked about the possibility of him resigning from his post, however he gave a predictably diplomatic answer: “We will see if I am on the team bench on Saturday. I remain the coach of Panathinaikos.” Already with a thin squad to choose from, Ouzounidis is sure to lose more key members of his roster in the near future. Swedish midfielder Oscar Hiljemark is practically certain to return to parent club Genoa, with Ouzounidis even confirming this in his media interview. Clever Argentinian Lucas Villafanez, one of the few flair players in this Panathinaikos team, is edging closer to a transfer away from Athens. According to various media reports, Villafanez’s move to Turkish outfit Alanyaspor is a done deal for 1.1 million euros. Panathinaikos will receive 800,000 of that amount.

The transfer saga surrounding imposing Brazilian centre-back Rodrigo Moledo has still not been resolved. It seemed certain that PAOK would take him on loan for the remainder of the 2017/2018 campaign, but that looks to have fallen through. It’s still unclear just where Moledo will play his football during the final weeks of the current season. 
 

 
by Shaun Nicolaides
Image Source: sdna.gr
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