Nikos Karelis could prove to be a smart signing for Brentford
According to BBC, Brentford have signed Greek international striker Nikos Karelis on a one-year deal in a bid to bolster their attacking options following a lacklustre start to the Championship campaign.
The 27-year-old left-footed Greek frontman was a free agent after departing Belgian heavyweights Genk earlier in the summer and Brentford have snapped him up on a free transfer, as the Bees look to find a replacement for last season’s top-scorer Neal Maupay.
Indeed, Brentford have been hit hard by the departure of Maupay to Brighton in the summer transfer window and while Ollie Watkins has done a fair job as the leader of the pack up top thus far, it has been quite evident from the results that the Bees need a new prolific No.9 to fill in the Frenchman’s boots.
Brentford have splashed the cash on the likes of Bryan Mbuemo, Mathias Jensen, Christian Norgaard, David Raya, Pontus Jansson, Joel Valencia and Dominic Thompson this summer but the departure of key players like Maupay, Ezri Konsa, Romaine Sawyers and Yoann Barbet has proven to be difficult to cope with.
Thomas Frank’s side have managed to register only a solitary victory in their first four Championship fixtures thus far, with the Bees losing out to Birmingham City and Leeds United.
A shock penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Cambridge United in the Football League Cup hasn’t helped their cause either and Brentford currently find themselves marooned 18th in the league standings.
Although it is only the start of the campaign, one cannot help but feel that the Bees would need to turn their fortunes around sooner rather than later if they are to have any chance of challenging for a playoff spot.
Manager Thomas Frank is likely to be staring down the barrel if the club do not manage to get their campaign back on track soon enough, particularly after spending heavily in the summer.
If the first four games of the Championship are anything to go by, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that Brentford need more firepower in their attacking ranks to cope with the departure of Maupay and post a significant playoff challenge this term. And that is exactly why the acquisition of Greek striker Nikos Karelis could work wonders for the Bees.
Karelis is neither a household name in Europe nor does he have the CV to flatter the fans at Griffin Park but, in all honesty, the 27-year-old’s arrival on a free transfer looks like a smart piece of business for the Bees, given the lack of depth in the club’s current attacking options.
The striker endured lacklustre spells at Ergotelis in his homeland and Amkar Perm in Russia earlier in his career but a move to Panathinaikos in 2013 helped him carve out a reputation for himself.
Karelis went on to amass 36 goals and 17 assists in 113 appearances for the Greek heavyweights over the course of two-and-a-half seasons, winning the 2014 Greek Cup in the process.
The 27-year-old’s prolific form at Panathinaikos earned him a move to Belgian giants Genk in January 2016 and the 5ft. 9-inches centre-forward went on to plunder 33 goals in 75 outings for his new club before returning to his homeland on a loan spell with PAOK Salonika last summer.
Karelis featured sporadically for PAOK last season and bagged 3 goals in 10 appearances but he was a part of the squad that won the domestic league and the cup double the last term.
As evident from those numbers above, the 19-cap Greek international boasts of a good enough strike rate so far in his career and while goals have in Belgium and Greece are hardly exchangeable for those in the English second-tier, the fans have every reason to expect big things from their new signing.
A total stranger to the English game, Karelis is likely to take some time to acclimatise to the new surroundings but the Bees might as well have a gem on their hands if he manages to deliver the goods later on in the campaign.
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All in all, it is too early to label him as an ideal replacement for Maupay but the Brentford fans will be more than happy to see him hit the ground running over the coming months.