PAOK close to completing Wernbloom and Khacheridi signings
In Thessaloniki, PAOK are continuing to put preparations in place for the 2018/2019 season, closing in on making their first major transfers of the summer window.
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Recently, on AGONAsport, reports emerged suggesting that experienced Croatian right-back Darijo Srna was on the verge of joining the Dikefalos tou Vorra, but the deal seems to have fallen through. Available on a free from Shakhtar Donetsk, Srna allegedly travelled to Thessaloniki to hold final contract negotiations with PAOK sporting director Lubos Michel, however the club’s bosses are not satisfied with Michel’s work from last season and head coach Razvan Lucescu is practically solely responsible for PAOK’s transfers. Michel was keen on signing Srna, but Lucescu rejected the idea, favouring Leo Matos on the right side of defence.
On the other hand, Swedish defensive midfielder Pontus Wernbloom and Ukrainian defender Yevhen Khacheridi are closing in on officially becoming PAOK players. The 31-year old Wernbloom, who is out of contract at Russian giants CSKA Moscow, is high on PAOK’s priority list, with the Thessaloniki club seeing him as an ideal option for the middle of the park with the UEFA Champions League soon approaching in the summer. Wernbloom is also being chased by teams from the USA and Far East, but he was quoted as to preferring a transfer to mediterranean, meaning that PAOK have a great chance of purchasing him on a free. When Wernbloom returns to Sweden from his holidays in the next few days, he is expected to make a final decision. For their part, PAOK have done everything possible to persuade Wernbloom to move to Greece and are hopeful of getting their man.
Khacheridi, the out of favour Dynamo Kyiv centre-back, has admirers among PAOK’s management and given that his contract with the Ukrainian capital club is expiring, the Dikefalos tou Vorra are ready to take action. Boasting plenty of experience in the Champions League and UEFA Europa League and standing at 1.98 meters tall, Khacheridi would add required strength and composure to the PAOK back line, something which will help the club go deep in Europe. According to sources in Greece, boss Lucescu is a fan of Khacheridi and knows how to incorporate the defender into PAOK’s philosophy. Interestingly, Giorgos Savvidis, son of club owner Ivan, uploaded a photo to Instagram with Khacheridi’s number 34, a clear sign that the transfer process is going smoothly.
In more positive news for PAOK fans, Besiktas’ interest in influential attacking midfielder Dimitris Pelkas is waining amid reports of the Turks turning their attentions to Everton’s Davy Klaassen. As a matter of fact, Klaassen would cost more than Pelkas, but Besiktas are not willing to pay seven million euros for Pelkas and will instead try to take Klaassen on loan from Everton.
Another Turkish club, Galatasaray, are rumoured to be following record breaking goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis. Originally, Napoli and Sporting Lisbon were reportedly lining up a bid for Paschalakis, but now Galatasaray have joined the hunt and they are aware of the stopper’s five million transfer clause. In the Turkish press, journalists published a story revealing that Paschalakis wanted to join Galatasaray’s academy when he was 17 years of age, but there was a restriction on the amount of foreign players allowed to sign.