SPORTS

PAO confirms Vitolo and Toche signings

Panathinaikos announced the signing of Spaniards Victor Vitolo and Toche on July 19, both for the next three seasons, as the club is struggling to make ends meet.

One week before the first leg of the Champions League third-qualifying-round tie with Denmark’s Odense, the Greens confirmed the acquisition of two cut-price players meant to cover for the departed Gilberto Silva and Djibril Cisse.

Holding midfielder Vitolo, who has been training with the Greens for the past week, left PAOK to join Panathinaikos, although he is not going to be ready for the Odense games.

He is well known to Greek fans following his career with Aris and PAOK, and the Greens are hoping his battling qualities will allow fellow defensive midfielder Costas Katsouranis a greater chance to move forward and help in the creative aspect of coach Jesualdo Ferreira’s game.

Toche, on the other hand, comes to Greece as a completely unknown striker, although he excelled during the last couple of seasons at Spanish second-division club Cartagena.

Jose Verdu Nicolas — his real name — is meant to make up for the departure of Cisse, who joined Lazio, although his signing has left Panathinaikos fans particularly worried about the new season.

Toche is a heavy, strong center forward, but lacks Cisse?s pace and eye for the ball and is only now entering top-flight soccer at the age of 29.

Ghanaian winger Quincy Owusu-Abeyie arrived in Athens late on July 18 and is likely to be Panathinaikos?s third signing this summer.