OFFICIAL: Ouzounidis named new AEK coach as Jimenez departs
AEK Athens officially have a new head coach, as Marinos Ouzounidis replaced Manolo Jimenez at the helm.
Recently, Manolo Jimenez and AEK owner Dimitris Melissanidis were witnessed informally shaking hands on a new contract for the Spaniard, but in a shock development, the relationship between the two quickly turned sour amid rumours of interest from Las Palmas. According to reports in the Greek media, Jimenez demanded over one million euros from AEK in the deal, but the Enosis declined, giving the 54-year old 48 hours to make his final decision. However, just one day after those stories were published on the internet, AEK released a statement on their official website which announced his departure:
“AEK FC announces that the agreement with current coach Manolo Jimenez will not be renewed. We extend our warm thanks for the year and a half’s worth of successful cooperation, including his major contribution in winning the maiden Greek championship in 24 years.
Manolo Jimenez has written his own chapter in AEK’s history and we wish him every success in his career. Amigo Manolo, hasta la vista!"
Following that announcement, another article appeared on AEK’s site, revealing that former Panathinaikos boss Marinos Ouzounidis has become the Kitrinomavri’s new head coach:
“AEK FC announces the start of an agreement with coach Marinos Ouzounidis, who signed a two-year contract.
He will be joined in the coaching staff by assistant coach Bledar Kola, trainer Nikos Giakou and analyst Vasilis Armatas. The presentation of Marinos Ouzounidis will take place next week.”
The 49-year old Ouzounidis earned high praise when coaching struggling Athenian giants Panathinaikos, sticking with the Greens through two thoroughly difficult Super League seasons. Immediately after being appointed AEK manager, Ouzounidis shared his feelings: “I would like to thank Mr. Melissanidis for the confidence which we has showed in me. Now, it’s important for me to reward his trust and to work together in order to achieve AEK’s high targets.”
AEK have endured a tough start to the summer transfer window, losing key figures Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Jakob Johansson, Sergio Araujo and now Jimenez. Nevertheless, the incoming Ouzounidis still has a strong squad on his hands, meaning he will be expected to guide AEK into the group stages of a European competition and perform well in the Super League. Alongside Panathinaikos, Ouzounidis has managed APOEL, AEL, Xanthi, Platanias, Ergotelis and Panionios. In 2007, he won the Cypriot First Division with APOEL Nicosia.