Aris hits transfer market hard
The latest news on the soccer transfers to and from Greece.
The usual merry-go-round of Greek football transfers is well and truly underway.
Aris have burst forth from the blocks at rates of knots, with two huge South American signings, notably the recent capture of Sebastian Abreu from Real Sociedad in Spain.
Panionios also revealed that Alvaro Recoba will remain at Nea Smyrni while former AEK fan favourite Bruno Cirillo has signed with Macedonian giants PAOK.
Sebastian Abreu is the third player to join Aris this summer, and potentially the most significant of all.
The Uruguay international sent his one-year contract signed and will play in Greece for the first time in the 2009-2010 season after leaving Real Sociedad of Spain, Aris announced over the weekend.
Abreu is set to arrive in Greece early this week, according to the club, and he is he sure to receive as boisterous a reception as recent Argentinean signing, Leandro Gracian.
Abreu is a 32-year-old striker with plenty of experience from his career at teams such as Defensor Montevideo, San Lorenzo, Deportivo La Coruna, Gremio, Cruz Azul America, Monterrey, Nacional, River Plate and Real Sociedad.
“El Loco” (the Madman) has 48 caps and 22 goals with Uruguay.
He has won six Uruguayan championships and two Argentinean league crowns in his illustrious career to date.
“Aris are a club which covered all my demands and that is why I kept my word to them,” said Abreu in statements published on the official Aris website.
“I had several proposals, but I have chosen Aris because they showed they wanted me the most.”
Panionios announced last week that they will enjoy the services of Uruguayan superstar Alvaro Recoba for one more season.
“El Chino”, as Recoba’s nickname is, has signed a one-year extension to his contract, the club stated on its website, just hours after main stakeholder Constantinos Tsakiris had said on the radio that an agreement had been reached between the sides.
Panionios have also agreed to sign Argentine defensive midfielder Carlos Casteglione from Arsenal Sarandi.
“I have reached an agreement with Panionios covering all aspects and the only thing left is for me to come to Greece,” stated the 29-year-old player.
He was the captain of the Arsenal team to win the 2007 Copa Sudamericana.
Of key interest for Panionios now is the future of its other Uruguayan star, Fabian Estoyanoff, who is being eyed by both AEK and Aris.
Meanwhile, the transfer of Grigoris Makos to AEK is likely to be completed within the next few days.
Former AEK defender Bruno Cirillo is reported to be close to joining PAOK after being released by Italian side Reggina.
The 32-year-old and the Thessaloniki side have reportedly reached an agreement that will see Cirillo quit Italy to return to Greece, where he spent two seasons with AEK.
He was a firm favourite with the Yellows fans during his stay in Athens and was known for his committed defending and passionate celebrations.
He earned the nickname “Sexy Bruno” after revealing that he would like to star in a porn film.
Cirillo, once on the books of Real Madrid, left AEK to spend a season with Levante in Spain before returning to his homeland to join Reggina where he began his top flight career in 1994.
Panathinaikos confirmed last week their first signing of the summer. Mali central defender Cedric Kante will call Athens home after the 29-year-old signed his three-year contract.
The French passport holder will earn approximately 700,000 euros per year.
The next targets for Panathinaikos are former Inter striker Julio Cruz, who is on holidays in Crete, and the 30-year-old Dutch international midfielder Orlando Engelaar, of Schalke.
Sixteen year old Greek goal keeper joins Blackburn
English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers announced the acquisition of 16-year-old Greek goalkeeper Nikos Giannakopoulos last week.
The former Asteras Tripolis player has just signed his first professional contract after a successful trial he had with the Lancashire club last month.
Asteras will receive 60,000 euros as well as 30 percent of the money paid to Blackburn for a possible future transfer.
“I know that my life will change,” said the teenager after signing his contract. “I feel ready to realise my dream playing for Rovers.
“I will try my best to show my quality and stay many years in England. The people of Blackburn showed me how much they trust me and told me that I have the credentials to succeed.
“They told me that with hard work I will have the chance to play at the first team very soon.
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