Araujo and Johansson leave AEK, Livaja and Jimenez expected to stay
In a blow to AEK Athens, influential Argentinian forward Sergio Araujo and Swedish midfielder Jakob Johansson will be leaving the club in the summer, but there’s positive news surrounding Marko Livaja and coach Manolo Jimenez.
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During an interview with gazzetta.gr, Las Palmas chairman Miguel Angel Ramirez revealed his plans for forwards Sergio Araujo and Marko Livaja, who spent successful loan spells at AEK in the championship winning 2017/2018 season. On the other hand, Las Palmas suffered relegation from La Liga, but it seems as though the Canary Islands club will take Araujo back for their upcoming campaign in the Segunda Division.
“We need to have a competitive team and Sergio Araujo will be one of our players for next season,” revealed Las Palmas supremo Ramirez. “Araujo is not for sale, especially given that his release clause is set at 60 million euros. I have received proposals to sign him, but I didn’t take any of them into consideration. We do not want to sell Araujo.”
For his part, Araujo was quoted as to having stated his desire to return to Las Palmas, thanking AEK boss Manolo Jimenez for the time spent in Athens: “I always want to help Las Palmas, because they helped me in a difficult period of my career. They have asked me to assist them next season and I will be there, I have two years left on my contract. I returned to AEK last year to win a title.
Manolo Jimenez is one of the best coaches I’ve had, my success at AEK is all down to him. I would be really happy to see him as the next Las Palmas manager. At Las Palmas, we have a good team and we will fight for promotion.”
Nevertheless, in more positive news for AEK fans, the Kitrinomavri are expected to keep Marko Livaja, with Las Palmas’ Ramirez waiting for the Greeks to activate the Croat’s release clause: “AEK have the right to activate Livaja’s 1.8 million release clause, but we are still waiting to hear from them. We have a great relationship with AEK and if there’s interest in more players in the future we’ll work together again.”
Imposing midfielder Jakob Johansson missed the majority of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but the Swede will be leaving AEK in the off-season, eager to seek a new challenge after three years in the Greek capital. In a conversation with Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet, he released his decision: “It’s true that I’m leaving,” said Johansson. “My family and I have spent 3.5 wonderful years here, but we find the opportunity of achieving something new very exciting.
AEK are a big club which won the title and will play in Europe, but it would be great to play in a stronger league. Now, I’ll return to Sweden and watch the World Cup from home.”
JIMENEZ SET TO STAY
On Thursday, media reports emerged from Greece suggesting that Jimenez and club owner Dimitris Melissanidis struck a deal which allows the Spaniard to keep coaching AEK for another year. The pair met during the evening, both expressing their satisfaction with the season and their mutual desire to continue working together. According to information, they shook hands and will formally sign the contract in the coming days.