The Revolving Door At Panathinaikos
They say a settled squad is a key ingredient to any successful team that wins trophies. Well the exact opposite has unfolded at Panathinaikos over the last 6 months. During this period, the Greens have made an astonishing 14 signings, but what is even more remarkable is the amount of players that have left. In the last 6 months alone, 22 players have departed the Trifylli.
There are numerous reasons for this, but it is easy to see why the club is languishing in mid table (a very unfamiliar position). The team’s budget was 22 million Euro just two years ago. It then got reduced to 11 million Euro last August, and it now sits between 4-5 million Euro. The departure of major shareholder Giannis Alafouzos has been the main cause of this, however, the question must be asked, how can Panathinaikos challenge its rivals for the league title with such a little budget?
The list of players includes: Berg, Zeca, M’Poku, Klonaridis, Wakaso, Leto, Steele, Thelander, Mesto, Boumal, Panagiotis Vlachodimos, Rinaldi, Chouchoumis, Ajagun, Kotsolis, Wemmer, Giannakopoulos, Marinakis, Koutroubis, Chavez, Sylla and Cabezas.
Influential players such as Berg, Zeca and M’Poku were never adequately replaced, hence the team’s sharp decline, whilst others such as Rinaldi, Wemmer and Chavez were major liabilities. Another thing to note is Chavez, Sylla and Cabezas were only brought in 6 months ago and have already left. There was also talk of Hiljemark leaving but that has since been quashed.
The scary thing is that there is still plenty of time left in January for that list to grow as the struggling club seeks to sell its best assets to pay off its debt. Odisseas Vlachodimos has already signed with Benfica and will leave at the end of the season. Rodrigo Moledo (who is seen by many to be the best centre back in the league) has also signed with Internacional in his native Brazil for next season, and his immediate short-term future is still uncertain since he could depart for home as early as this month, as a move to PAOK fell through. Nuno Reis is linked with a move to Israel. Hult has attracted interest from several European clubs, as has Lod. Then there are star players Kourbelis, Villafanez and Coulibaly who are being shopped around to clubs in Italy, France and Germany to bring in much needed funds.