Karagounis signs!

Quiet times at CCN, for which we apologise slightly. It’s always the way around international breaks.

The main news is Martin Jol’s response to the fans’ “Midfield Black Hole” concerns: an ancient Greek. Giorgos Karagounis, to be exact, 35 year old acclaimed midfielder from the same metaphorical scrap-heap that delivered Mahmadou Diarra and Jari Litmanen.

The funny thing about Karagounis is that despite winning 120 caps for Greece, his career is remarkably trophy free. He won a Greek league as a youngster, and Euro 2004 with the National team, but then only won another trophy when Panathinaikos went on a spending splurge a couple of years back. In a long career in what we might unkindly call a second tier footballing nation, one might have expected more trophies.

But no. However, people say that Karagounis played well at the recent European Championships, so this is good news. I don’t know if he’ll be expected to start or just to lend some Olivier Dacourt style gravitas to the Motspur Park canteen, but in any case, he’s another person who can notionally play in midfield if Diarra and Sidwell do get hit by that bus, so for that we must be somewhat happy.

7 thoughts on “Karagounis signs!

  1. It’s impossible to measure the career of any Greek Super League player by trophies. The Greek League is so corrupt it truly defies comprehension. It’s a punch line even among seen-it-all Greeks. I’ve watched the Greek League for years and fans of better leagues, such as the Premeir League, would be astounded at the 89th minute referee decisions, 8 minutes of extra time, or post-match eligibiltiy determinations — all used in an effort to control match results. Remember when Radzinski left Fulham and moved to Xanthi? After only a few months he complained about how all the greek players laughed at him when he expressed shock that all the matches (ALL of them) were fixed. He couldn’t get out of that League fast enough.

    There is no question, in my mind, that Karagounis was once a world-class box-to-box midfielder. Even at 35 he has more stamina than many players years younger than he. He is cagey, good at set pieces, tracks back and digs deep when things aren’t going well (kind of a requirement for Greek NT regulars unfortunately). I’ve watched both Panathinaikos games and Greek NT games where it looked like Karagounis was the only player on the pitch who gave a sh-t, single-handedly trying to will his team back into the match. Maybe that is something Fulham needs, but I’ve never thought so. And I didn’t think “build a solid defense and then outhustle and wear down our opponents” was jol’s plan.

    Truth is, as fond as I am of Karagounis and as much as I am thrilled to see a Greek player at Fulham (even if its one of the Greens instead of an AEKara), I really can’t see how he is going to benefit us.

    His complaining is sure to give the Premier League refs fits though, so that should be good for a few laughs.

    1. That is a great post. Thanks. Given that Jol has said that his intention is to have the midfield play closer to the attack, perhaps a high-energy midfielder is exactly what we need to free up the rest of the midfield.

    2. On the other hand, I think the two central midfielders in Jol’s 4-2-3-1 are expected to track back and hustle on defense, so we shouldn’t minimize the value of that mentality.

      1. Hiya Timmy! See you tomorrow. I hope we get to see a Karagounis debut. I think rjbii might have the right idea about what Jol has in mind (see his comment above). By the way, the story of why the O’s play Country Boy is not very interesting unfortunately. Press Box had a story on it a few years back — you can probably google it

  2. I mean, he’s two months older than me, and that’s wicked old. But he did look good at the Euros. And I still feel like a young man, albeit a weakling.

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