On loan players of PAOK
PAOK FC official webpage opens the file of the players who belong to the “Double-Headed Eagle” but will spend this season away from Toumba Stadium.
Looking for more playing time, an effort to restart their career or a transitional step from youth to senior professional football. There are the motives behind a player’s agreement to a loan and it’s the path chosen by 20 PAOK players this season.
PAOK fans will get the opportunity to follow some additional leagues this season, the ones of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Israel and Cyprus, as they will be monitoring players of the “Double-Headed Eagle” playing there on loan.
After featuring for Albania in Euro 2016, Ergys Kaçe returned to Thessaloniki and signed his contract extension. He then joined Czech champions FC Viktoria Plzeň on loan, to help them in the domestic front and in the UEFA Europa League. The Albanian midfielder wants to get back into form and this loan is the best way to achieve it.
Erik Sabo chose to continue his career at the ranks of Beitar Jerusalem FC, in Israel. The Slovakian midfielder got his opportunities last season, but didn’t adjust to the requirements of life at PAOK. With various newcomers in the midfield line, there wouldn’t be any playing time for him, so it was deemed preferable for him to continue at Beitar.
Since last season, through Ľuboš Micheľ, the “Double-Headed Eagle” are cooperating with Slovakian club MFK Zemplín Michalovce. It was where Panagiotis Deligiannidis and Kyriakos Savvidis played last season and the destination of Kristi Qose and Kristian Kushta this season. Qose spent last season at Panserraikos, but he was held back by injuries. He hopes for a new start now and he will have Kushta with him. The young forward was a starter at PAOK U20s, made his debut for the seniors and he is ready for the next level.
Four players of the “Double-Headed Eagle” will move to Cyprus. After his ligament injury suffered last December, Dimitris Konstantinidis aims to return stronger to action and hopes to achieve it at Omonia. In the Cypriot league, he will eventually face three PAOK academy graduates. Stelios Pozoglou, Vasilis Papadopoulos and Giannis Tsolakidis will play together at Karmiotissa who will taste top-flight football this season.
On Greek soil
PAOK’s numerous signings and the return of on-loan players this season resulted to a packed roster and less playing time for some players.
On the last day of the summer transfer window, Jairo moved to PAS Giannina and hopes for a restart in his career, after spending last season mostly on the sidelines due to injuries. He got his opportunity during summer preseason training, but it was decided that it would be best for him to leave for another team on loan and return stronger.
Terry Antonis also came last season, played a few matches but didn’t get a spot in the new season’s roster. The young midfielder will try his chance at Veria, just like Achilleas Pougouras and Dimitris Giannoulis did last season –they did brilliantly and now they are back to stay at PAOK.
Nikos Melissas opted for a destination even more south, at up-and-coming Sparti, who are getting ready for their maiden season at Football League and aiming to distinguish themselves. Last season, Melissas got some games, but with three more goalkeepers in the roster, he chose to leave for more regular football. It’s the third time he leaves on loan, after his spells at Fokikos and Iraklis Psachna.
One of the most difficult steps in a player’s career is the move from youth to professional football. The youngsters stemming from PAOK Academy have been working at the highest level since a young age, participating non-stop in domestic and international tournaments. But this step requires a “transitional period”.
Nine players from last season’s PAOK U20 are ready for the next steps. Eginiakos and Panserraikos will have the opportunity to dive into professional football.
Giorgos Kakko, Timos Tselepidis, Giorgos Ktistopoulos and Aristotelis Panagiotidis moved to Panserraikos, while Manolis Patralis, Fotis Pantekidis, Savvas Topalidis, Aleksandr Bataev and Bogdan Rangelov will spend the season at Eginio. PAOK youngsters will get the opportunity to measure themselves, get valuable experience and get stronger in their quest to establish themselves eventually at PAOK.