AGONA Scouting Report: Who is New Panathinaikos Forward Argiris Kampetsis
Panathinaikos finally got their man last week after lengthy negotiations that dragged on all summer with Borussia Dortmund. In connection with the news, AGONAsport looks at the young Greek forward’s career to date.
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Early Beginnings at AEK
Kampetsis had a love for the game from a young age. He started playing as a 5 year old for Ari Petroupolis and within 2 years, he was unearthed by AEK legend Toni Savevski at a tournament in the Athens suburb of Pallini. Savevski did not hesitate to ask to recruit him in yellow and black, in fact, the first question he asked was if he “wanted to attend training with AEK”. From there, Kampetstis rose through the Academy at the Enosi.
Move to Olympiakos
This is where Kampetsis’ career really took off and went to the next level. According to the player himself, this is where he understood “what it was like to be part of a strong team that won titles and what had to be done from a young age in order to be a good player”.
His dominance, goal scoring record and all-round game at youth level could not be ignored, and as a result, he became a regular fixture in the youth teams of the Greek National Team setup.
Consequently, top teams from England, Germany, Italy and other European countries were interested in landing Kampetsis. However, it was German giants Borussia Dortmund who made him the best offer. One that Olympiakos could not match as his playing time would not be guaranteed by then manager Paulo Bento. Something which angered the youngster as he thought he was capable of breaking into the first team.
According to the player himself, Borussia Dortmund went to see an U19 friendly between Greece and Turkey in 2017, and were initially interested in a Turkish player but opted for Kampetsis instead after he scored twice.
The German Adventure
Kampetsis waved goodbye to his family and friends on the 5th of September, 2017 and moved abroad to Borussia Dortmund, a day after former teammate Panagiotis Retsos went to Bayer Leverkusen. It proved to be a match made in heaven as the Bundesliga club has a great track record in unearthing great strikers such as Robert Lewandowski, Lucas Barrios and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Naturally the path to first team stardom was never going to be straightforward, but homesickness appeared to have an adverse effect on someone so young at the tender age of 18.
He missed training a few times initially, struggled to adapt to his new surroundings, “did not know the language” and “craved a freddo” (highlighting his desire to one day return to Greece), however, as soon as he knuckled down and got it work, the results (and goals) were evident in an abundance.
Playing for the second team of Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s fourth tier, Kampetsis got the opportunity to regularly play in front of crowds exceeding 10,000 people on a regular basis. Something so rare for a Greek his age.
Whilst keeping his place in the Greek youth setup, he scored twice for Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Youth League (Youth Champions League) against APOEL and refused to celebrate out of respect for the Cypriot club. On top of this, he also got the chance to play against the youth teams of Real Madrid and Tottenham.
He took his time to adjust to the new surroundings but after starting out as a substitute, he made his fair share of starts and scored 8 goals. Kampetsis is well aware that his fascinating career would not have blossomed if not for the “sacrifice of trading school for football” and the move to Germany itself, learning his trade at an iconic and professional club.
The Professionalism of Sokratis and Borussia Dortmund
As a member of the youth team, he got to meet first teamers and it is no coincidence that he credits the influence of Sokratis Papastathopoulos for fast-tracking his maturity. In fact, Kampetsis still consults Papastathopoulos for advice. He also knows that what he was exposed to during his time at Borussia Dortmund, he could not have seen had he remained in Greece. Little things such as the “two year plan” the Germans had for him gave him direction and a goal to work towards. This invaluable experience will hold him in good stead for the rest of his career, especially since money has never been the main motivating factor.
Move to Panathinaikos Next Stop in an Intriguing Career
As part of its punishment for failing to obtain a licence to participate in this season’s Championship, Panathinaikos can sign an infinite amount of Greeks under 23 but only one foreigner over 23. Kampetsis falls under the category of the former and a crazy tussle ensued all summer between Panathinaikos Technical Director Nikos Dabizas and Borussia Dortmund.
The German club wanted to loan him to the Greens, however, Dabizas did not lose hope and stuck to his guns in pushing for a permanent move. This is exactly what happened, with the Bundesliga outfit keeping a resale fee.
Kampetsis, still not even 20 years old, has now plied his trade at AEK, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund and Panathinaikos. Massive clubs for someone so young. The Trifylli lacks a dominant goal scorer and that is exactly what Kampetsis is. His hunger to find the back of the net will help elevate the Greens up the ladder. On top of this, his place in the team is practically a given. This fits in well with his aim of regular playing time over money.
From a Panathinaikos perspective, the long wait will be worth it as it is low risk (he obtained a release to sign as a free agent) and if he does succeed and attract big bids, he can bring in a considerable amount for the club. This in turn, will help make the club more self-sustainable moving forward.
The challenge of holding down a spot and succeeding at such a big club will only serve to drive him.