Bonatini new favourite to replace Prijovic at PAOK
Following the departure of striker Aleksandar Prijovic, PAOK are searching for a replacement, with rumours now suggesting they will move for Leo Bonatini instead of Marcus Berg.
Prijovic’s sudden departure has given PAOK manager Razvan Lucescu an unwanted headache. Midway through the season, PAOK sit in a comfortable first place of the Super League table, however with the prolific Prijovic leaving for Al Ittihad, the Dikefalos tou Vorra lack a potent striker. As a result, the Greeks have began to scan the transfer market for replacements, and Brazilian forward Leo Bonatini has been heavily linked with PAOK.
Since joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on a permanent basis in the summer, Bonatini has struggled for opportunities, only receiving a combined total of 128 minutes on the pitch in seven English Premier League matches without scoring a goal. Considering his status within the team, Wolverhampton are willing to let Bonatini go, and PAOK are keen to sign the 24-year old on a loan deal until the end of the season with a purchase option.
PAOK Director of Football Mario Branco has travelled to England to engage in talks with Wolverhampton, and in the coming days, he will return to Thessaloniki to discuss the transfer with owner Ivan Savvidis. The Super League leaders are confident of getting the deal done in the near future.
This season, Bonatini’s only goal arrived in the League Cup. In the past, the striker has represented Cruzeiro, Juventus, Goias, Estoril and Al Hilal. His contract with Wolverhampton Wanderers is due to expire in June 2020.
BERG RUMOURS COOLING
When Prijovic initially left PAOK, former Panathinaikos hitman Marcus Berg was the favourite to replace the tall Serbian, however recent developments have hinted that the experienced Swede won’t move back to Greece.
A move for Berg is lot more time consuming for PAOK. Taking into account the additional fee which needs to be paid to Panathinaikos in the event of a transfer, more complications are involved, and Berg would come with heavy financial demands given how much he has been used to earning at Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
PAOK aren’t closing the door, but their interest in Berg has notably cooled in the last 48 hours, and they seem to be moving for Leo Bonatini instead. Berg is under contract at Al Ain for the remainder of the 2018/2019 season and has scored 10 goals in 11 UAE Gulf League matches.
HENRIQUE POSSIBLY ON HIS WAY BACK
On Instagram, Giorgos Savvidis, who is the son of PAOK owner Ivan, hinted that the club have recalled 28-year old Brazilian forward Pedro Henrique from his loan at Astana with these posts:
In January 2017, PAOK signed Henrique from Rennes, but despite scoring the winning goal in the Greek Cup final against AEK, he was loaned out to Qarabag for the 2017/2018 season. In September 2018, he was then sent as a loanee to Astana in Kazakhstan, where he has scored three goals and made one assist in seven UEFA Europa League matches.
YOUNG LYRATZIS SIGNS UNTIL 2022
Talented, promising right-back Lefteris Lyratzis has committed his future to PAOK, penning a new deal with the club which runs through to June 2022.
Lyratzis, 18, has starred with PAOK’s under 19 side, standing out with his excellent showings in the U19 Super League and the UEFA Youth League. Lyratzis is yet to fully break into the PAOK first team, but in the Greek Cup, he played 23 minutes in a 6:0 win against Aittitos Spata on the road in December.
PAOK confirmed the contract extension with this statement:
“PAOK FC announces the renewal of Lefteris Lyratzis’ contract until 30.06.2022.”