All the media is buzzing about French striker’s Djibril Cisse move to Athens for Panathinaikos soccer club. According to media reports, the Marseille forward is on his way to Athens on a private jet to sign with the team for what is the largest sum of money ever paid to a soccer player in Greek football history. The player’s transfer from Marseille to Panathinaikos is expected to cost around the 20 million Euro mark in total. According to Greek newspapers, Marseille will receive 8 million Euro for the transfer and the player will sign a 4 year contract at 2.5 million Euro per year; the other 2 million will be paid for administrative costs including manager commissions and the like.
Now, Cisse’s talent, speed, and scoring abilities cannot be dismissed but I wonder if Panathinaikos just purchased a player who probably wasn’t worth that much money. Cisse’s performance has suffered greatly in the last few years and especially after breaking his leg in 2006. He has even lost his place on the French national team. Liverpool had no room for him and even though eventually Marseille bought the player he only joined the team for half a year and then he played for Sunderland on loan. So, I wonder if his move to Greece is just a last chance for him to be back on the spotlight especially considering that Panathinaikos has a good chance of advancing to the group stage of the Champions League.
In the meantime, the Greens have also signed another young player from Liverpool namely Sebastian Leto. Interestingly, Let played for rival club and Greek champion Olympiakos last season on loan. Just last month, everyone was expecting that he would be sold to the Greek club making it his permanent home especially. In fact, Olympiacos did make an offer to the English club but as we have been told, the two could not agree on the transfer fee. Panathinaikos stepped in and signed the player. If the transfer goes through as many expect, then Leto will become one of the most hated soccer players in Greek history. It is a rare occurrence that a player from either team will make a move to the other. I can’t even imagine the atmosphere at Karaiskaki stadium when Leto steps out in the green uniform. At any rate, I am willing to bet that his signing will be the most valuable for Panathinaikos as he showed last year that he can make a difference against the smaller teams in the Greek league. Losing points to such teams has been Pana’s Achilles heel for the last few years. This may just be the first time in a decade that a team may seriously be a contender to permanent champion from Piraeus.