Panathinaikos enter 2018 in midst of huge uncertainty
2017 wasn’t great, but 2018 doesn’t look like being any better. Fallen giants Panathinaikos enter the new year in the midst of financial hardship, coupled with problems on the pitch which see the club languishing in a lowly eleventh position of the Super League.
Watch LIVE GREEK TV including full GREEK SPORTS coverage from AGONASport.com!
If you’re a Panathinaikos fan, it’s difficult to have any positivity whatsoever. The Trifylli are enduring one of the worst seasons ever recorded, winning a mere four out of fifteen Super League matches and trailing arch rivals Olympiacos by sixteen points. As already documented, the main reason behind the catastrophe is the club’s financial crisis, something which has been continuing for a number of months. If no-one can come up with a solution to the issue, Panathinaikos’ existence is even in threat.
Massive debts face Panathinaikos, but the club simply do not have the funds to pay them off. The Greens are trying to find buyers for their leading lights, however they don’t possess many players on the roster which are capable of bringing in any serious money. It’s not worth forgetting that before the 2017/2018 campaign ends, Panathinaikos must make five million euros. Just how can that be achieved?
The only player which can be sold for a respectable amount is Dimitris Kourbelis. The talented defensive midfielder, who only joined the club during the 2016/2017 season, has performed excellently in Athens. According to reports in Greece, Kourbelis could raise up to three million euros. Kourbelis would give head coach Marinos Ouzounidis a selection headache if he leaves in the next few weeks, but it will greatly help Panathinaikos in their quest to somehow take five million euros in player sales.
Another on his way out is 20-year old Ecuadorian Bryan Cabezas. He signed on a loan deal from Italian side Atalanta in the summer, but failed to establish himself in Athens. Taking into account the crisis suffered by Panathinaikos and the lack of game-time, Cabezas decided to leave Greece and continue his career elsewhere. It’s unknown which club he will now join.
The saga involving Argentinian forward Andres Chavez seems to be approaching its conclusion. Chavez, an imposing striker signed to replace the prolific Marcus Berg, turned out to be Panathinaikos’ worst transfer of the year. He got injured early in the season, and was banned from the team after flying to Argentina without permission. Despite those problems, Argentine club Belgrano are willing to pay Panathinaikos 800 thousand euros for 50% of Chavez’s rights, giving the same amount to Boca Juniors and Banfield in order to receive the remaining 50%. If the deal does through, Panathinaikos can breathe a sigh of relief, as no debt will be owed to either Boca Juniors or Banfield.
Other key players such as Oscar Hiljemark, Niklas Hult, Rodrigo Moledo and Lucas Villafanez are all rumoured to be leaving Panathinaikos. Their transfers will probably keep the club afloat, but which players will Panathinaikos actually have available to participate in matches? Sadly for the Greens’ faithful supporters, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.