SPORTS

Ajax coach tells Charisteas to find new club

AMSTERDAM/ATHENS (Combined reports) – Ajax’s new coach Henk ten Cate has told Greek international Angelos Charisteas to find another club. Ten Cate, who moved from Barcelona in the summer to replace Danny Blind, said there was «no place for Charisteas in our system,» the club said in a statement yesterday. «I am not going to jerk him around, he still has time to find a new club,» Ten Cate said. Ten Cate said if Charisteas stays, he will be last in line for a starting spot behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Markus Rosenberg, Ryan Babel and newcomer Rydell Poepon, recently signed from Ajax’s own training school. Charisteas, who scored Greece’s winning goal in the Euro 2004 final against Portugal, has two years remaining on his contract. «I hope a good club will come forward for him,» Ten Cate said. «In a two-striker system he’s fantastic, but we don’t play that way and we have many good attackers on the roster.» The ex-Werder Bremen forward had scored 18 competitive goals since his arrival in December 2004. Ajax, which will be captained by former AC Milan defender Jaap Stam, opens its campaign in the Eredivisie, the Dutch first division, at home against RKC Waalwijk on August 20. In other transfer news, a leading Barcelona official told Greek media yesterday that the Spanish club would announce a decision on the future of Argentinean international Javier Saviola tomorrow. Panathinaikos has submitted a formal offer. The club, local sources said, stood a chance of signing Saviola, who represented Argentina at the recent World Cup finals in Germany. As late as yesterday afternoon, there seemed to be no other rival offers that bettered the one submitted by Panathinaikos. However, Mexican club Tigres appears to have approached Barcelona for the player. Panathinaikos’s archrival Olympiakos, whose efforts in trying to woo 32-year-old Brazilian international Ze Roberto to the defending Greek champion appear unlikely to produce a favorable result, has now turned its attention to Greece striker Dimitris Salpiggidis of Thessaloniki team PAOK. Olympiakos’s coach Trond Sollied has already given his blessing to the club’s administration for the player’s acquisition. «If he were offered to me, I would definitely not say no,» said Sollied. However, PAOK’s financial demands for the star striker could keep negotiating sides apart. The Thessaloniki team recently rejected a 1.5-million-euro offer made by Panathinaikos, as well as another, for a similar amount of money, from abroad. With two strikers, Garcia Dani and Haruna Babangida, set to be ousted from the squad, Olympiakos is already looking for replacements. However, it is anticipated that PAOK’s financial expectations for Salpiggidis, estimated to range between 2.5 and 3 million euros, will deter Olympiakos. (AP, Kathimerini)