Sotiris Ninis 21 Winger Panathinaikos
Google ‘Sotiris Ninis’ and the words ‘Manchester United’ come up almost as many times as ‘Panathinaikos’. The winger has been consistently linked with a move to Old Trafford since his emergence from Panathinaikos’s youth system, but it was his form throughout a title winning 2010 that really marked Albanian born Ninis as a player to watch. Managing to take his league form into his club’s European march to the last sixteen, United were reported to be trying to tie up a deal for one of Europe’s most promising wingers before anyone else could.
Last season however Ninis struggled to make the same sort of impact and his club failed to defend their title, make it through Champions League group stages, or do enough to qualify for the Europa League via the back door. Due to financial difficulties in line with the country’s economic problems, Panathinaikos were forced to sell most of their higher wage earners and a general malaise fell over their football and Ninis’s own form.
To cap a disappointing year Ninis picked up a long term injury on international duty recently and will miss most of the season just as his game was beginning to pick up a little. Once recovered he needs to rediscover his touch and pace immediately and set about trying to impress scouts at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, and, if he can make it, at Euro 2012. A move and a new challenge is vital at this stage as he really is approaching make or break time. He could be special, but he could just as easily fade to obscurity. Time and how well he comes back from injury will decide.
“Flying winger who struggled to make an impact amongst a disinterested, lazy, old side last season. Needs time and patience from the club to become a star” – Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)
D Get your fitness back and move on.