Kourbelis Future A Win-Win For All
AGONAsport’s Nick Tsambouniaris praises Panathinaikos captain, Dimitris Kourbelis, for his stance on deadline and determination to lead the club during these difficult times.
On Deadline Day it was confirmed Dimitris Kourbelis would remain a Panathinaikos player until the end of the season as his much-talked about move to title chasing PAOK fell through. The young captain’s future has been in the spotlight for some time as Panathinaikos is in desperate need of funds to pay off its debt and it was believed his sale could generate the most amount of funds.
Numerous clubs have been deliberately lowballing the Greens into selling quality players under market value given the surrounding circumstances. Alanyaspor paying under 2 million Euro for Lucas Villafanez is a steal for instance.
This also could have been Kourbelis but to his credit he stuck to his guns and remained firm in his view that he would only move abroad to further his career. The versatile Greek international, who can also cover at centre back, made his intentions clear on Deadline Day by indicating a transfer to PAOK would merely be a sideways move and that he plays at the biggest club in Greece right now.
This shows all you need to know about the guy. Many others in his position at his age would have taken the money on offer at PAOK, but this is why Kourbelis is a young leader in the dressing room and adored by all Panathinaikos fans. Losing the leadership of Zeca was always going to be a huge blow but this season has been the making of Kourbelis as he has now matured into a warrior on the pitch and a stable, reliable figure off it who bleeds for the cause.
A move to Sampdoria in the summer (roughly in the region of 2.5 million Euro) is practically a formality but until then Ouzounidis, the playing group and the fans can enjoy having “Kourbe”. This is clearly a win-win situation for all. Panathinaikos look a considerably better team on the pitch when he is there as he provides a solid backbone protecting the backline. Fans will continue to have someone to look up to during these turbulent times. Sampdoria will most likely snare a quality player for next season. The club can cash in on their “biggest asset” in a bid to help pay the debt off. Kourbelis will play in a stronger, more professional league, which in turn will hopefully benefit the Ethniki.
In summary, this benefits all parties involved, and most importantly for long-suffering Panathinaikos fans there will continue to be an “on field Ouzounidis” for the rest of the season to help salvage some pride in a tough season.