Big-4 absent in summer signings department
A month remains until Greece’s big-4 start off the new season with all four having yet to make a starting XI player signing this summer.
The fans of Greece’s Big-4 will surely not be pleased with their respective club’s developments in the signings’ department as all four must be ready in a month’s time to begin their respective runs in Champions League or Europa League qualifying. Many rumors and many names have been heard this summer yet the teams are still in search of signing players that will fill the necessary gaps in their rosters for the upcoming season.
AGONAsport takes a look at what the Olympiacos, AEK, PAOK, and Panathinaikos have been up to over the summer.
The Peiraiotes will partake in the Champion’s League 3rd qualifying round (Champions route) and will surely have an easier task than AEK to reach the group stages. Yet their disappointing displays in the second half of the season left fans worried coming into the new year. The absences of Ideye and Milivojevic were evident as Olympiacos never really replaced these players quality signings after selling both in the January transfer window. Although many players have returned to the Limani from their loan spells, none of these players have convinced Besnik Hasi that they deserve a place in the team’s starting XI.
The Erythrolefki will surely move to sign a stopper who will play alongside Botia and Retsos in a position that has needed an enhancement since last season. Romao has earned valuable points in preseason training thus far and could very well be a staple in the Olympiacos midfield this season while the club still looks to sign Milivojevic’s successor. Ofoe, who is Olympiacos’ number one target for this position, could very well be the second starting midfielder in the roster if all goes well with Legia Warsaw. Moreover, with Bokani’s move failing at the medical tests, the Erythrolefki’s attacking line remains week with just Ansarifard and Vergos. Finally, the Superleague champions are keen on signing a starting XI player for the wing position.
AEK are the only team to date that have completed a starting XI transfer, as Didac’s likely departure will be covered by Helder Lopes. Apart from Lopes, Giakoumakis was purchased from Platanias and will be looked at as a good alternative option in the attacking line.
AEK’s first priority is to bring a forward that will fill the gap left behind by Sergio Araujo. Unfortunately for AEK, things do not look promising for the Argentine’s return to the Enosis and Almeida’s disappointing season, does not leave Jimenez with much to work with up front. Livaja appears to be in negotiations with the club, however nothing official has been announced by the club. Viktor Klonaridis’ return fulfills the wing forward position, however the Kitrinomavri will be in search of an additional wing forward this summer. Finally, AEK’s big summer signing target, Nacho Scocco is expected to sign with River Plate, forcing AEK to move towards an alternative player with similar characteristics of the former Newell's Old Boys man.
PAOK have already completed two signings, however neither player is considered to be amongst the coach’s first choices for the starting XI.
PAOK’s first priority, following Glykos’ injury, is to sign a goalkeeper that will be ready to take the No. 1 jersey. Many names have been heard including Ochoa, Pavlenka, and Rey, however no official announcement from the club has been made. The Thessalonikis also are in need of a wing forward with Mak’s return looking like a very possible scenario. Moreover, the Dikefalos tou Vora are in search of a top class attacking midfielder for the upcoming season. Finally, other additions are expected to be made in order to give the roster the necessary depth for the long season ahead as Stanojevic will look to build off of the players from last season that led PAOK to an overall successful campaign.
Panathinaikos are facing the biggest problems out of the four as the club’s key attacking players from last season have departed. Berg, Leto, Klonaridis, and M’Poku’s departures mean that the club loses the players that scored 37 of the Trifylli’s 51 goals last season. With the budget cuts implemented by Alafouzos and the club in search of a new technical director, the upcoming season has surely started off on the wrong foot.
Ideally, the Prasini need two forwards, an attacking midfielder, two wing forwards, two wing backs, which will provide an alternative option to Hult and Coulibaly, and only one stopper if Moledo does not depart. In any other case, two defenders will be signed. For the time being, Altman is expected to be Panathinaikos’ first signing of the summer and Kolovetsios will follow quickly after. As for the other positions, all is up in the air and the transfer gossip will begin as the saga with Marcus Berg has officially come to an end and a new technical director is quickly appointed.