Having made just two signings all summer, Bayer Leverkusen finally made their move on deadline day by signing Panagiotis Retsos and Lucas Alario.
Greek defender Retsos joins from Olympiacos and has signed a contract until 2022, whilst striker Alario will also arrive from Club Atlético River Plate.
Retsos with plenty of experience already
19-year-old centre-back Retsos joins Leverkusen having already been a key player for Olympiacos, playing at the heart of their defence as they won yet another Greek Super League last season, as well as playing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
He made 40 appearances for them across all competitions since making his debut at the start of the last campaign, and even had the opportunity to captain them, making him the youngest player to ever do so.
According to Sporting Director Rudi Völler, the club beat “top clubs playing in Europe this season” in order to capture Retsos’s signature. He describes him as “an investment in the future of the club,” who has “special talents” and “fits in perfectly with our requirements.”
Retsos said the he was “really impressed” by how the club had, in previous seasons at least, regularly qualified for the Champions League, “despite strong domestic opposition.” He added that he is “proud” to have had the chance to join them and that he is “really looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga.”
In fact the 31 August 2017 will go down as one of the most memorable days in his career, as he was also handed his first cap for Greece in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Estonia.
Alario set to replace Chicharito
The deal to bring striker Alario to Germany is not yet complete. It was confirmed on Thursday that the 24-year-old had bought himself out of his contract with River Plate, meaning he is now technically a free agent and has more time to complete the formalities of his move to Leverkusen.
He joined River from CA Colón in 2015, and he was part of the team that won the Copa Libertadores in 2015, contributing the opening goal in the 3-0 win against Tigres UANL in the second leg of the final.
As well as a total of eight goals in South America’s leading club competition, he also scored 20 goals in 44 Argentine Primera División matches. He has also won three caps for Argentina, scoring one goal.
The club will be hoping he can adequately replace Javier Hernández, who left the club for West Ham United in July, as well as in the long-term Stefan Kießling, who will retire at the end of the season.
Quotes via Bayer Leverkusen.