Several loanees waiting for second chance in Piraeus
Major changes await Olympiacos in the summer, but the Thrylos have plenty of other options already on their books. With the club having around 15 players currently out on loan, AGONAsport takes a look at their chances of earning a second chance in Piraeus.
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Looking at Olympiacos’ large squad, it isn’t surprising that so many players are sent on loan to different teams. However, many will never wear the Olympiacos shirt again. Bruno Viana, currently under contract at Olympiacos but playing for Braga, recently signed a three-year deal with the Portuguese club which will begin following this season’s completion. Another who is highly unlikely to return to Piraeus is Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike. Signed from Turkish outfit Fenerbahce in the summer, Emenike was expected to become a prolific goalscorer for Olympiacos, but he failed to settle in and was given to Las Palmas for the remainder of the season. However, he got injured immediately and is yet to play a game with the Spaniards.
Jagos Vukovic, a centre-back who only joined Olympiacos in 2017, made one Super League appearance for the Thrylos before departing on a loan deal for Italy’s Hellas Verona in January. The 29-year old immediately earned the trust of Verona’s coach, even scoring one goal and making an assist in Serie A. Verona seem willing to activate Vukovic’s three million euro release cause, but the decision depends on whether Verona remain in the top flight of Italian football. Fellow Serbian Sasa Zdjelar returned to his homeland with Partizan Belgrade after being deemed surplus to requirements in Piraeus and Partizan are keen on sign him on a permanent basis from Olympiacos. The likes of Konstantinos Laifis, Nicolas Martinez, Qazim Laci, Anastasios Karamanos, Dimitris Goutas and Manolis Saliakis don’t have a realistic chance of being summoned back to Piraeus, while 20-year old winger Giorgos Manthatis has enjoyed a reasonably successful loan at PAS Giannina and will probably stay in Ioannina for next season too.
Nevertheless, Olympiacos certainly count on Manolis Siopis, Giannis Gianniotas and Spyros Risvanis. Diminutive defensive midfielder Siopis, who came through the Olympiacos academy, was picked up from Panionios last summer but was quickly sent back to the Nea Smyrni club for the 2017/2018 season. Siopis has once again proved to be a true leader for Panionios, standing out with his grittiness and ability to lead the team. If he had not received an injury, Siopis would have made more than the 16 Super League appearances with Panionios. Barring any shock decisions, Olympiacos will recall Siopis for the next campaign.
Another midfielder who is banging on the Olympiacos door for an opportunity is Giannis Gianniotas. The Greek international put pen to paper on a contract with the Piraeus team in 2015, but since then, he has spent time out on loan with APOEL Nicosia and Valladolid. Gianniotas has performed well this season, competing in 20 Segunda Division matches while contributing with two goals and assists. Taking into account the uncertain future of Felipe Pardo, Seba, Marko Marin and Kevin Mirallas, Gianniotas might finally receive his long-awaited chance with the reigning Greek champions.
In Peristeri, central defender Spyros Risvanis has starred for Atromitos in the club’s stunning season. In 2017, former Olympiacos head coach Besnik Hasi made it clear that Risvanis wasn’t going to be given a chance, but it turned out to be a huge mistake by the Thrylos. Unfortunately for Atromitos, Risvanis’ parent club Olympiacos are impressed with his performances and will take him back in July.
Things get even worse for Atromitos. Tall goalkeeper Andreas Gianniotis transferred to the Peristeri club last summer from Olympiacos, but there is an agreement between the two teams which allows Gianniotis to return to Piraeus if Olympiacos pay a certain amount of money. Reports in Greece suggest the likelihood of this happening is extremely high.
Over in the Netherlands, Konstantinos Tsimikas has made a name for himself with Eredivisie club Willem II, often starting on the left side of defence and popping up with the odd goal. Still, his return to Olympiacos is shrouded by doubt. The Thrylos already have Leonardo Koutris and Ehsan Hajsafi for the same position, meaning that Tsimikas would likely keep the bench warm on a regular basis. Assuming that both Koutris and Hajsafi stay with Olympiacos, there is no point in Tsimikas travelling to Greece.