Liverpool have signed only their second Greek player in history, bringing in Olympiakos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, which is proving big news in his homeland.
Few Greek players have ever moved for over £10 million, and Tsimikas is set to at least break the top 10 with his £11.75 million switch to Anfield.
He follows Sotirios Kyrgiakos as the second player of his nationality to represent the Reds, and becomes the first signing since Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions.
It is, therefore, a big deal to those back in Greece.
Their national team, who won the European Championship as recently as 2004, sit 54th in FIFA’s world rankings, while only one club has ever reached the final of the European Cup, that being Panathinaikos in 1971.
The Super League’s low profile on the continent means that Tsimikas arrives as a relative unknown in England, which makes him an intriguing prospect for all Liverpool fans.
To get a local perspective of the Reds’ new number 21, TIA spoke to Greek-Cypriot Liverpool fan Gregoris Gkousis (@Gregoris96_YNWA) and heard his views on Tsimikas.
How would you describe Tsimikas as a player? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
“I would describe Tsimikas as a typical modern full-back who loves going forward and helping in attack, but he is someone who is defensively solid as well.
“His biggest strengths are that he is very fast, has great crossing and passing, good tackling and he is also a player who does not give the ball away often.
“Moreover, he is a very hardworking guy and has incredible stamina, which is why that you will see him running up and down for 90 minutes without signs of tiredness.
“One weakness he has is his finishing, because although he has got a decent shooting technique and tried his luck several times, he still did not manage to score any goals for Olympiakos.
“Under the coaching of Klopp, however, I’m sure he can improve in this area.”
How does he compare to Andy Robertson? Could he challenge him for his spot in the future?
“He is quite similar as both players are very hardworking, like going forward, are great at crossing and do not forget their defensive duties.
“Both can get physical too when needed.
“Robertson is far more effective and clinical in the final third which as I said is an area that Tsimikas needs to improve his numbers in.
“It is difficult to say if he could challenge Robertson for the starting spot because even though Tsimikas is a very good player, Robertson has established himself as the best left-back in the world and he is essential to the way Klopp wants to play.
“So it would take something really special for Tsimikas to become our starting left-back.
“Having said that, however, I still expect Tsimikas to put pressure on Robertson for his place, something the latter has not felt for a while.
“And in a few years under the management of Klopp, you never know…”
Is there any chance of Tsimikas playing other positions too?
“Tsimikas is mainly deployed as a left-back but he used to play as a winger in his youth days, and because of the attacking attributes he has I would not be surprised if Klopp was to play him further forward too.”
What impact has the deal had in Greece?
“It is considered the greatest transfer ever made in Greek football history.
“People in Greece and Cyprus as well are going crazy over it, everyone is talking about it and the media are all over it.
“There is a huge sense of pride that a Greek player has managed to join such a massive club, and the fact that Liverpool is the most supported Premier League team in Greece makes it even more unique as well.
“In comparison to the Sotiris Kyrgiakos transfer back in 2009, I would say the Tsimikas one is considered much greater.
“Because back then, Kyrgiakos was nearing the end of his career while Tsimikas is one of the brightest young players, and the fact he’s joining our club when we are Premier League champions and last season’s Champions League winners makes the transfer even more special.
“Furthermore, transfer fee wise, it is not every day that a Greek player gets sold for such big amount of money, so us buying Tsimikas for the fees reported makes it a significantly bigger deal than the Kyrgiakos one.”
* Many thanks to Gregoris Gkousis for his insight into Kostas Tsimikas. Follow him on Twitter @Gregoris96_YNWA.