New Liverpool defender Kostas Tsimikas is moving to England. But who is Tsimikas? FinalGoal will take you to know him more..
Konstantinos “Kostas” Tsimikas is one of few Olympiakos stars not to have been born and bred in Athens – instead, from the small Greek village of Lefkonas. This outsider status perhaps translated when he was loaned out first to Danish side Esbjerg and then to Willem II. In both sides, he shone and came back blooded to win a place as Olympiacos’s first-choice left-back.
Now 24, the Greek has been capped three times by his national side and was his club’s an undisputed first pick in defence last season. He will wear No.21 for Liverpool – just as he did in Greece.
While he’s a nifty little player, Tsimikas’s mentality seems to be his defining trait. Klopp described it as excellent and there’s a clear indication from coaches who have worked with him that this lad is particularly determined to reach the top.
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Tsimikas fits the profile of a typical Liverpool wide-man. He’s devilishly quick, able to take on his man and competent at knowing when to get back into position. His national team coach, John van’t Schip, even described him as more advanced than a full-back.
“He is a good player, a young defensive winger who plays very well,” van’t Schip claimed. “He had a great season always starting as a starter.”
Tsimikas’s advanced role this season has resulted in five assists in 20 games. He could well improve on that figure under Klopp’s tutelage, in a possession-heavy, pressing side that relies on whipped balls from the full-backs.
Signing for Liverpool does seem a little out of the blue, but Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Tsimikas was tracked for months before the new Champions plucked up a bid to bring him to Anfield. They weren’t alone in watching him either.
Napoli have been strongest linked with the defender, where he would have linked up nicely with countryman Kostas Manolas in the back four. There was also talk of Leicester City potentially being interested in his services, should Ben Chilwell have departed in this transfer window to Chelsea.
One nice bonus of Tsimikas at Liverpool is that he’s a Nike athlete. If he muscles his way into the first team, expect to see him on new kit posters this time next year.
Premier League experience (of sorts)
OK, so the Greek league isn’t exactly a hotbed for footballing gems, ready for the fire of the fastest, hardest, best quality division on the face of the Earth (though Daniel Podence signing for Wolverhampton Wanderers certainly suggests there is talent there).
Should Liverpool fans give Tsimikas a lot of time to adjust? Well, probably. But it helps that he’s played a fair few Premier League sides this season – and he hasn’t disgraced himself.
First came two Champions League games against Tottenham Hotspur where Olympiacos drew 2-2 at home before a pummelling in North London; on both occasions, Tsimikas was a threat going forward.
Then came games against Spurs’ rivals Arsenal in the Europa League, where the 24-year-old was superb at keeping Nicolas Pepe quiet. Most recently he faced Wolves. Six decent displays in as many games certainly isn’t bad going.