New Look Panathinaikos Takes Shape
AGONAsport’s Nick Tsambouniaris talks about the developments occurring at Panathinaikos.
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Dabizas and Donis Set to Commit
The new look Panathinaikos is gradually taking shape. It has been known for some time now that Nikos Dabizas will be the new technical director. He has already met with the players and conducted various other duties in the capacity, but it is set to be formally announced this week.
In addition to this, Giorgos Donis is expected to be the new manager as early as Wednesday. The pair will meet and it is expected Donis will say “yes” to taking the job on, 22 years after leaving the club as a player, where he went on to become the first Greek to play in the English Premier League.
Big Week Ahead
The off season news shows no signs of slowing down either, as Dimitris Giannakopoulos is set to meet Alexis Tsipras with a close associate of his and other Government Ministers in relation to the “Athens Alive OAKA” project. If that goes well, it is expected Giannakopoulos will put a fresh proposal to Giannis Alafouzos. However, the meeting could get delayed until next week depending on Tsipras’ schedule.
On the other side of the equation, Pairoj Piempongsant is reportedly travelling to Athens this week. The Thai businessman signed a joint announcement with Alafouzos on their agreement in principle to transfer the shares of the club by June 30. Club management has not confirmed this but the Government sources are reliable. If this is the case, Piempongsant is clearly showing his intent. He is not here to muck around.
Furthermore, the punishment for failing to obtain a licence to participate in next season’s Championship is set to be confirmed in a meeting this Friday involving the EPO Executive Committee. The previous penalty was relegation but that has since been downgraded to a 6 point deduction for the start of next season, along with numerous implications on the ability to make signings. After this, Dabizas will know how many players he can sign over 23 and how many foreigners he can recruit.
As a result, the contracts of Christos Donis, Robin Lod Guillermo Molins and Stefanos Evangelou are at the forefront as they are expiring shortly. Attention will then turn to retaining other players such as Kourbelis, Kace, Luciano, Mounier and Coulibaly.
Dabizas spoke to the players last week and informed them his job is to implement the new (and very low) budget set by Alafouzos. This is the budget he will have at his disposal should there be no change in ownership. The new budget is a miniscule 2.5 million Euro.
After locking Giorgos Donis in as manager, his attention will turn to tying down captain Dimitris Kourbelis, as the intention is to build the team around him. He is undoubtedly the shining star in a team sorely lacking quality and only stayed at the club at the last minute in the January transfer window as a move to PAOK fell through (he preferred a move abroad). Coincidentally, he is the only player to have been paid his February installment so he cannot seek an appeal.
It is also expected, Dabizas will not be allowed to hand out contracts over 300,000 Euro. As a result, he will loom for contract extensions for a number of players but at the same time, these players will have to accept a pay cut to remain at the club only for this upcoming season. After that, the contracts will increase again.
This is how Dabizas is planning to keep Luciano and Mounier at the club. The former is earning 650,000 Euro and the latter 400,000 Euro. It is hoped the idea of “short-term pain, long-term gain” resonates with the duo. These two are the priority under this method but it will also apply to Mattias Johansson and Emanuel Insua.
A new proposal has been put to Molins, where he would be on slightly less than last season. However, the slim hopes of keeping Lod have faded as talks have broken down. The Finnish international does not want to accept such a pay cut and he has many good offers from other European clubs to weigh up.
Christos Donis Signs New Deal, Evangelou is Next
The son of Giorgos Donis, Christos, who spent most of the season playing out of position as a striker, has penned a new contract extension. The 23 year old is already the longest serving player at the club and he has now verbally agreed to the new deal that keeps him at the Greens for a further 2 seasons. He had met with Vasilis Konstantinou but it was the meeting with Dabizas that made it happen. It will be interesting to see how the father-son relationship between manager and player works out.
Dabizas will now turn his attention to Evangelou. The young defender was out of favour under Marinos Ouzounidis but the new technical director wants him to remain. Negotiations have gone smoothly and it is expected Evangelou will also renew his contract.