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Giannakopoulos headed for Liverpool, reports contend

Greece international Stelios Giannakopoulos is set to transfer to European Champions Liverpool from fellow English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers, according to reports released late last night. The reports, claiming that an official announcement of the deal was just hours away, said Bolton Wanderers had agreed to release the Greek international to the historic Merseyside club for 1.8 million euros. Giannakopoulos had agreed to all terms on his prospective contract at Liverpool for a two-year term worth close to a million euros per annum for the player, the reports said. He played a key part in Greece’s astonishing triumph at Euro 2004 in Portugal and then enjoyed a sturdy season with Bolton Wanderers in his first Premier League season. The attacking midfielder joined Bolton Wanderers following a long and successful tenure with Olympiakos, where he helped the Piraeus club win several Greek league titles. Incidentally, Giannakopoulos’s old Greek club is set to welcome Norwegian coach Trond Sollied today. His acquisition is expected to be announced during the day. Olympiakos recently parted ways with Dusan Bajevic even though he had led Olympiakos to the league and club double last season. Bajevic, who had fallen out of favor with organized fans, quit after failing to receive backing from the club’s president, Socrates Kokkalis. The club’s fans claimed the Greek-Serb lacked the qualities to lead Olympiakos in European club-level competition. Olympiakos has disappointed in the Champions League despite winning eight of the past nine domestic league titles. Sollied, who last worked with the Belgian club Brugge, is expected to begin his new tenure by discussing pre-season signings with the Piraeus club’s administration. The Norwegian has spent considerable time studying Olympiakos’s performances last season on video. Archrival Panathinaikos’s Cypriot striker Michalis Constantinou is reportedly among the players being considered by Sollied. Meanwhile, in the country’s north, Iraklis announced yesterday that it had signed experienced Nigerian international midfielder Garba Lawal to a two-year contract. No financial details were revealed by club president Dimitris Houlis about the deal, but he added that there is an option for an additional season if both sides agree. Lawal, 31, has been capped 35 times scoring four goals and was a member of the gold medal-winning Nigerian Olympic team in 1996. Lawal last season played for both Portugal’s Santa Clara and Sweden’s Elfsborg, and before that played for Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia (2002-2003) and Roda JC of the Netherlands (1996-2002). (Kathimerini, AFP)