SPORTS

Lazaros injury casts shadow over transfers

Panathinaikos suffered a shock just as it seemed to have strengthened its midfield through deals agreed with defensive midfielder Victor Vitolo and winger Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, as it learned that Lazaros Christodoulopoulos will miss the next five months of action.

The 24-year-old Greece winger appears to have injured his cruciate ligament during the scoreless friendly against Turkey’s Sivasspor on July 15.

He is likely to have emergency surgery in the coming days and may not be back before Christmas.

As a result, Panathinaikos?s reported agreements to sign ex-PAOK defensive midfielder Vitolo and Al Saad’s right-side winger Owusu-Abeyie couldn?t have come at a better time.

Vitolo ended his contract with PAOK this week and on July 14 he joined the rest of the Panathinaikos squad in Austria at the Greens’ preseason training and sporting the club?s jersey.

The Spaniard’s transfer is set to be announced next week but is seen as a mere formality. «I could not possibly say no to Panathinaikos,» said Vitolo at Kitzbuhel, adding that his move to the Athens side is «an upward step in my career.»

The Greens are also close to sealing a loan deal with Ghanaian Owusu-Abeyie, paying his Qatari club 150,000 euros for one season.

The former Ajax and Malaga winger is expected in Athens as of July 18 and will get between 300,000 and 400,000 euros. His contract will likely have a buyout option.

Also on July 15, Panathinaikos confirmed the departure of Djibril Cisse.

The French talisman signed a deal with Italian team Lazio, which should fetch Panathinaikos some 5.8 million euros, according to reports.