What the Addition of Tiquinho Soares Says About Olympiacos' Transfer Strategy
One might say that the Greek champions began their transfer period with a bang;: bringing in former FC Porto striker Tiquinho Soares to add to the already boosted striking force of Youssef El Arabi and Ahmed Hassan signifies an intention to go even further beyond what they've accomplished so far. One simple look at the Brazilian's CV makes it clear that this is not a move to help maintain the Super League title in Greece, but to make that necessary step forward in Europe.
Tiquinho has been described as a "small Hulk" during his tenure at the Portuguese giants and rightfully so. When they say Hulk however, they're not referring to the Marvel character, but to the former Brazilian international. They share many common attributes in the way they play: they have incredible strength, it's very difficult to take the ball away from them, their shot is both powerful and accurate and they're tough to beat when the ball is in the air.
Should anyone have doubts about Tiquinho's quality, it's worth pointing out that it was never Porto's intention to let him go. Rather it was the high amount offered by Chinese club Tianjin TEDA to acquire his services (10 million euros) which practically forced the Portuguese team to make the transfer.
With the addition of Tiquinho and the assurance provided by El Arabi and Hassan, Olympiacos can rest easy that they have a striking force which will make opposing defences suffer no matter where they go. But, what about the rest of the squad?
It's true that the team is suffering in key positions, while there may also be departures that could create gaps in certain parts of the starting lineup, with many Olympiacos players being targeted by clubs from better leagues. Mady Kamara, Ruben Semedo, Jose Sa, Ouseeinou Ba, Yann M'Vila, Kostas Fortounis, even Andreas Bouchalakis and Pape Cisse may accept an offer at any time and leave the port of Piraeus for greener pastures.
Meanwhile, there are still a number of players whose positions within next season's squad hangs in the balance: Thiago Silva, Pepe, Bruma, Avraam Papadopoulos, Hugo Cuypers, Jose Holebas, and Oleg Reabciuk for one reason or another have not yet confirmed their presence in the Olympiacos team for 2021/22.
But, with this first transfer of Tiquinho (and the three made before it during the winter transfer period, Reabciuk, Kenny Lala, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos), at least fans can rest assured that any potential gaps that may appear in the squad will be covered in the best way possible. Both Pedro Martins and his associates have made contingency plans for all possible departures and the Olympiacos board of directors have proven that they stand behind their decisions.
We may well see a different Olympiacos in the coming weeks. Many of the faces surrounding the team may be quite different. But one thing remains certain. As long as Pedro Martins remains at the helm, it will continue to be a club that fights until its last breath, where each player gives their all until the final whistle. That is the team that all Olympiacos fans want to see.