SPORTS

Porto eager to get Dellas to shore up its central defense

Central defender Traianos Dellas, the linchpin of Greece’s unyielding defense during the recent Euro 2004 soccer championship, may join fellow defender Giourkas Seitaridis at Portuguese club Porto, according to an article published yesterday in Portuguese sports paper A Bola. The 28-year-old, 1.97-meter Dellas, dubbed «the Colossus of Rhodes» by the Greek national team’s German coach, Otto Rehhagel, played sparingly last season with Italian club Roma, but has expressed his desire to stay there. Roma coach Fabio Capello wants to promote Dellas to the starting lineup. According to A Bola, Roma has already been approached by Porto and would not hesitate to agree to the player’s transfer as long as Porto could agree to the asking price of 4 million euros. Porto, last season’s surprise Champions League winners, have lost a few starters to other teams. Central defender Ricardo Carvalho, who plays in a position similar to Dellas’s, was transferred to English club Chelsea for 30 million euros. There, he will join his old coach, Jose Mourinho, who guided Porto to last season’s Champions League triumph, as well as a UEFA Cup title in 2003. With Carvalho’s transfer, Porto has plenty of spare cash in its hands and is reportedly willing to pay Roma the 4 million euros it wants for Dellas’s transfer. Porto management believes that the presence of 23-year-old Seitaridis, a former Panathinaikos player who signed a 3.6-million-euro contract with Porto a few weeks ago. If it acquires Dellas, Porto might have to change its tactics and fall back on the old sweeper system, with a player playing behind the central defense, rather than play a straight back four line. Rehhagel used Dellas as a sweeper because he is slow but has great anticipation and could clear any ball that his fellow defenders failed to.