Lod leaves Panathinaikos, Coulibaly set to stay for upcoming season
Following the appointment of Giorgos Donis as head coach, Panathinaikos trained for the first time, but it seems that Finnish midfielder Robin Lod is departing.
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Since joining from HJK Helsinki in 2015, 25-year old Lod has become an important part of the Panathinaikos midfield, offering attacking threat when bursting forward. Lod stuck with the team through a bumpy 2017/2018 campaign, but out of contract at Panathinaikos, his time with the Greens is up. Eager to keep Lod, Panathinaikos offered the Finn a new deal, but Lod declined and the club have decided to wave the white flag. During his stint at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, Lod made 75 Super League appearances, scoring 12 goals and dishing out seven assists. He is now available on a free agent and it’s not yet known where he will continue his career.
COULIBALY HAS CHANGE OF HEART
Nevertheless, on the other hand, it appears as though Mali right-back Ousmane Coulibaly will remain a Panathinaikos player. Previously, Coulibaly was supposedly searching for a move away from the Athenians, but taking into account the administration change, he is now willing to stay for the upcoming Super League season. In the coming days, a meeting will take place between Coulibaly and new technical director Nikos Dabizas, in which the 28-year old’s future will be cleared up. Incidentally, Coulibaly was present at Wednesday’s training session in Koropi.
DONIS FEELING POSITIVE
At the first training of the 2018/2019 pre-season, new Panathinaikos boss Giorgos Donis shared his maiden impressions from the club with the media: “I know how difficult the past year has been, so we need to claw back confidence within the team,” said Donis. “When there is hard work and discipline, we can start to expect results. After more trainings, I can set out our goals for the season. Lod? He is free to go where he wants, that situation depends on the administration. As for Coulibaly, it’s a positive sign that he’s attended training. We want to restore a healthy atmosphere in this club, it requires a lot of work from the coaches, players and management. I am very optimistic and I think we will succeed.”
KOURBELIS WARY OF DIFFICULT SEASON AHEAD
Gritty midfielder Dimitris Kourbelis, who was one of the few bright points from the previous season, is tipped for a transfer abroad, but so far he is still on Panathinaikos’ books. In an interview, Kourbelis noted the team’s difficulties and the work ahead: “It will be a testing year, because the club cannot make transfers and we will start the season with a points deduction. We have many new players, most of them being young. It will take a lot of work, mainly by ourselves, to improve. Last season’s troubles have made us stronger, we are moving forward.”
KACE TRAINING IN KOROPI
Given the transfer restrictions placed on Panathinaikos, the Greens don’t have the opportunity to strengthen their squad with high-quality signings, but as reported on AGONAsport, Albanian midfielder Ergys Kace is staying on loan from PAOK. According to sources in Greece, Kace personally persuaded parent club PAOK to let him play his football in Athens, citing the fact that he feels wanted at Panathinaikos. Kace was witnessed at pre-season training in the Greek capital on Wednesday.