New arrivals set to give Olympiacos required boost
After a season of disappointment, Olympiacos only have one goal - to return to the top. Ahead of the upcoming 2018/2019 campaign, AGONAsport takes a closer look at the new arrivals in Piraeus which are coming off the back of a superb year.
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Having won seven consecutive Super League titles, the dominance of Olympiacos was always going to end at some point, but no one quite expected the Thrylos to fall so heavily. In a simply dreadful campaign, the Piraeus outfit contrived to finish bottom of their UEFA Champions League group with just one point, before crashing out in the Greek Cup quarter-finals to AEK Athens and languishing in a distant third place of the domestic championship. Naturally, fiery owner Evangelos Marinakis is ringing the changes, chucking out unwanted figures while pulling off impressive signings.
Surely, the top transfer of the summer has to be Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, the 31-year winger who surprisingly decided to swap AEK for Olympiacos after a conflict with the Enosis’ management. A key member of the title winning AEK squad, Christodoulopoulos enjoyed a career renaissance in Athens, inspiring the Kitrinomavri with stunning displays and jaw-dropping goals, none better than his beautifully struck free-kick against Olympiacos at the Olympic Stadium. Boasting a sharp turn of pace, the midfielder provides a spark, especially when emerging off the bench. Will he repeat the trick in Piraeus? There’s no reason why not, although many are doubting whether he will settle into the Olympiacos system and have another impressive season.
TSIMIKAS IMPRESSES IN HOLLAND
Since progressing from the Olympiacos academy, left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas has been sent out on two loans, but it seems this time he will receive his chance. The talented 22-year old, capable of offering a threat when bursting forward, had a stand-out loan spell at Willem II in the Netherlands last season, registering three goals and assists in the Eredivisie and solid at the back. However, with Leonardo Koutris the first choice on the left side of defence, there’s a large possibility that Tsimikas will find himself keeping the bench warm on a regular basis. Tsimikas has the entire pre-season to convince incoming coach Pedro Martins that he should be a fully fledged senior team player.
MANOS READY TO FINALLY SCORE IN SUPER LEAGUE
The signing of OFI striker Dimitris Manos wasn’t announced by Olympiacos, but the 23-year old is training with the team in Austria and will seemingly play his football in Piraeus in the coming year. In an astounding season, Manos hit the target on 27 occasions in 26 Football League appearances, spearheading OFI’s charge back to the top tier. Deadly inside the penalty area, he is lethal when presented with an opportunity, however the difference in quality between the Football and Super League is overwhelming. The statistics are damning too - Manos has previously played in 21 Super League matches with Veria, not scoring a single goal. He will be hoping that he can finally prove himself on the biggest stage.
GIANNIOTIS SOLVES GOALKEEPING PROBLEM
A major problem for Olympiacos was the goalkeeping issue, but after putting up with the inconsistent Stefanos Kapino and ageing Silvio Proto in the 2017/2018 season, salvation has arrived in the form of Andreas Gianniotis. In the summer of 2017, Gianniotis cancelled his Olympiacos contract and moved to Atromitos Athens, where he put on show stopping performances. Largely thanks to Gianniotis’ heroics, the Peristeri outfit claimed fourth spot in the Super League and a UEFA Europa League berth, but he won’t be there to experience European football.
Instead, in accordance with an agreement in place between Olympiacos and Atromitos, Gianniotis has returned to Piraeus. Conceding a mere 18 goals in 26 matches last term, the goalkeeper will be expected to kick on and become Olympiacos’ number one. Yes, the expectations with Olympiacos are on a completely different level, but 25-year old Gianniotis has the potential to turn into a real star.
Other new Olympiacos arrivals in the summer transfer window so far:
Stefanos Evangelou, defender, 05/12/1998
Mohamed Camara, midfielder, 28/02/1997
Giannis Fetfatzidis, midfielder, 21/12/1991
Andreas Bouchalakis, midfielder, 05/04/1993
Miguel Angel Guerrero, forward, 12/07/1990