Five AEK players with a point to prove in 2019
It’s been a tough first half to the season in all respects for AEK, but while the entire team needs to raise its game, there are five specific players which have something to prove. AGONAsport investigates.
Fourth in the Super League, point-less in the UEFA Champions League. Following the success of the 2017/2018 season, reigning Greek champions AEK have encountered real difficulties this time around, with a poor transfer campaign in the summer taking its toll on the Enosis. Ahead of the second part of the current season, let’s take a look at five AEK players which have a point to prove to the club’s management:
The 23-year old Brazilian midfielder has played excellently at times, but according to reports in the media, his performances are yet to persuade AEK to activate his release clause of 1.7 million euros from Braga and sign him on a permanent basis. Last year, Alef was a crucial player for Apollon Limassol on loan, and considering the imminent departure of Andre Simoes, he should receive more minutes on the pitch for AEK in 2019.
So far, Alef has made 10 Super League appearances for AEK, while also playing in five UEFA Champions League matches and scoring one goal in the Greek Cup. Alef is technically gifted and often displays flashes of silky skills, however he needs to toughen up and become physically stronger. The potential is certainly there.
Ever since joining from Platanias in July 2017, the striker has endured a difficult time at AEK. Starved of opportunities, Giakoumakis has only scored one Super League goal in 16 matches, and he rarely starts for the Kitrinomavri. Incidentally, his only league goal for AEK was probably the most important of the 2017/2018 season, as he struck gold at point blank range to seal a dramatic 2:1 victory against Olympiacos last February.
When he is given a chance on the pitch, Giakoumakis simply looks devoid of confidence, and his technical ability isn’t at the required level. Still, if the 24-year old can score a couple of goals and build up some momentum, we might see a completely different player. AEK’s patience won’t last forever.
This summer, Gianniotas was snapped up on a free from Olympiacos to replace Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, however the move hasn’t gone to plan. Gianniotas, 25, hasn’t made any kind of impact for the Enosis, with head coach Marinos Ouzounidis opting to mainly keep him on the bench. Overall, he’s received 339 minutes of game time this season in 10 matches across all competitions, not contributing with any goals or assists.
Gianniotas’ career is rapidly regressing, and in 2019, he needs to start showing his talent on the right wing. It can’t get much worse.
Almpanis has been rather unlucky with injuries. After helping AEK beat Celtic in the UEFA Champions League, the 24-year old forward picked up an untimely injury which kept him on the sidelines until late October. Most comfortable playing on the left wing, Almpanis has been dangerous after returning to action for AEK, but he will most likely be used as an impact substitute by Ouzounidis.
Interestingly, as a part of the agreement between AEK and Almpanis’ former club Apollon Smyrnis, he can only play on loan at the Rizoupoli organisation in Greece.
Unfortunately, the talented 22-year old Argentinian winger received an injury while warming up to play Celtic in Scotland, and he subsequently missed the first two months of the campaign. Nevertheless, after being declared fit enough, Boye has proven himself to be a real threat on the left flank and his technical skills are excellent.
However, Boye hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations yet, and if AEK are going to make his loan from Torino permanent, he has to perform more consistently. Boye scored the one goal against Aris in the Super League.