After what seemed like a never ending wait, Marco Silva finally arrived at the club earlier this month. With some sort of resolution to the Greek financial crisis being reached last week, the club announced that they would release funds and start to sign players. As last week came to an end the new arrivals started to appear in the playing staff.
The players brought in so far have filled a number of positions throughout the team, which is a promising start to proceedings. There have been a number of players of Greek nationality brought in, which will be of great pleasure to us fans. Our defence is in desperate need of strengthening, but, it is a signing at the other end of the pitch that us fans are pining for. There was no shortage of stories in this week‘s media linking us with many attacking options. Of course, this is a relief, as I cannot be alone in worrying about where our replacement is for Mitroglou’s goals scored last season.
In Mitroglou’s two spells at the club, he has cemented himself as a true fan’s favourite. For many fans he would be the ideal solution – no risk, reliable, a natural goal scorer and he has a passion for the club. Fulham are likely to want a large fee for the player, far larger than we would be willing to pay and Mitro’s wages will now be significantly higher than when he was last on the club’s permanent payroll. In all fairness to the player, he has won all there is to win in Greek football and made a name for himself as one of the league’s top players of recent times. He has outgrown the Superleague and has nothing left to prove here. He has earned the right to test himself and find success elsewhere. His move to England with Fulham didn’t work out but he will still find his success abroad. Age is on his side. Given the chance, I think he has all the attributes required to be a success in the English game. The reputation of Kostas Mitroglou in England is at rock bottom, I couldn’t see him finding an English side to take a chance on him now. He has been linked with many clubs across Europe during the last three transfer windows, with Besiktas and Fenerbache featuring prominently amongst his likely destinations this summer.
In spite of a denial later, the name of Michu featured heavily in the press earlier this week with a move to the port. Michu has had a tricky time the last couple of seasons, hampered by injury. Last season was spent on loan at Napoli and only managed to feature in five games for the Serie A outfit failing to find the net in any of those appearances. Before being hit by injury Michu, was in sensational form even earning himself an international call up to the then world champions Spain. After a move from Celta Vigo to Rayo Vallecano, the Oviedo native had a fine season, netting 17 goals in 39 appearances for the La Liga side. His good performances earned him a move to the English Premier League with Welsh side Swansea City. An unknown in England, nobody thought anything of his arrival for the small fee of £2m. It was soon clear that Michael Laudrup had unearthed a gem and the player was striking fear into experienced defences with 22 goals in his first season. With his clear goal scoring prowess and ability to play number 9 or 10 as well as on the wings he was tracked as a transfer target by many top sides including Arsenal. Injury struck during his second season at Swansea and as a result his appearances and goals started to dry up, as did the talk of a big money move. The 2013/14 season saw an impressive return of 4 goals in 7 games in Swansea’s maiden voyage in Europa League. A move to Piraeus could be the perfect scenario for both parties. After a baron couple of years, the step down from Europe’s elite leagues could work in the player’s favour and help him regain the form he showed at Rayo and his first year at Swansea. Although not one of the coveted ‘Big Five’ leagues, in coming to Olympiakos he could achieve one thing that he is yet to in his career – the chance of showcasing his talents in the Champions League.
Dortmund’s Colombian marksman, Adrian Ramos, is another player to have been linked with a move. Should there be any truth in this link then it would be an incredibly ambitious move. It would be a real statement of intent that we are serious about making a mark in European competition this season. Ramos was brought in to Dortmund last summer as one of the strikers to replace Robert Lewandowski. The Colombian had, by his standards, a poor season after his move. That is somewhat unfair, however, in a season where he was adjusting to new surroundings and the club itself had a torrid first half of the season where they found themselves rock bottom of Bundesliga for large periods of the early season. Jurgen Klopp brought Ramos to Dortmund from Hertha BSC, where his record in the capitol was superb. He was Hertha’s main talisman, scoring a total of 65 goals in 176 appearances. He found the net 11 times during their Bundesliga II winning season. His scoring record in the 2013/14 season in the Bundesliga was impressive and convinced the 2013 Champions League finalists to invest in the player. Ramos found the net an impressive 16 times in the 32 games he played for Hertha in the top flight during that season. That scoring rate of 50% is something he managed last season in the Champions League (3 goals in 6 games), despite struggling domestically. If Dortmund are willing to sell and we could convince the player to make the move to Athens then Adrian Ramos would undoubtedly be a star attraction in the Superleague and would thrive on the service from the likes of Dominguez and Fortounis in support behind him.
The latest name to be linked with a move to fill the vacant space upfront is Icelandic Alfred Finnbogason. The club made a move for the 26 year old international last summer but he ended up moving to the Basque Country ahead of Greece. Real Sociedad were able to pay Heerenveen €9m for his services which is an amount we simply could not match. The proposed deal this summer is reportedly a €1m loan agreement with an option to buy next summer. La Real are willing to let the player leave as he had an unsuccessful first season in Spain as he was plagued by injury. David Moyes in his first pre-season with the club is looking to rebuild his squad so is prepared to let some players leave in order to bring in some of his own targets. Only two league goals were scored last season but before his move to the Iberian peninsula he was regarded as one of the hottest properties outside of the big five leagues. During his two years in the Netherlands he scored an incredible 59 goals in just 70 games, in his first season with Heerenveen he scored half of his teams entire league goals that season! Finnbogason scored 34 goals in his final two seasons playing in his homeland before making his first move to Belgian Pro League side Lokeren. Two seasons were spent in Belgium, not as much game time was on offer as the player would have liked and he only featured in 25 games spanning the two seasons – with a return of six goals, however, he was still a very young man during this period. He was then transferred to Helsingborgs IF in Sweden for the 2012 season where he rediscovered his lethal form. Alfred netted 12 times in 17 league games before being rewarded with his big move to the Eredivisie. As would be the case with Michu, a move for this player at the current time could be a risk should his injuries reoccur. For just the €1m reported loan fee it would be a gamble well worth taking. If the player were to stay fit, there is every reason to believe that the player could once again find his fine scoring ability that he displayed in Sweden and the Netherlands.
One target from earlier in the summer whose name I feel may re-emerge is Seydou Doumbia. The club is understood to have approached AS Roma about the possibility of taking the player on loan but Roma made it clear they were only interested in letting the player go on a permanent basis in order to receive a fee. The player has struggled since his move to the Italian capital, but before that he was a formidable force. 154 career goals in 255 games prior to his switch to Serie A. Doumbia has shown in Russia, Japan and Switzerland that he knows how to score goals, and lots of them! He could do a great job here at the Karaiskakis, but our original offer was made before the appointment of Silva so it remains to be seen if it is a player that would interest him. However, with Roma being one of the clubs closely linked with a move for Arthur Masuaku it wouldn’t be unthinkable that the player is again mentioned regarding a move to the club.