Several Albanian internationals move to new European clubs

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 30, 2017 17:40

Several Albanian internationals move to new European clubs

TIRANA, Aug. 30 – Several Albanian internationals moved to new clubs in the summer transfer window as the 2017-2018 season has already kicked off in major European leagues.

Striker Sokol Cikalleshi, who has been playing in Turkey’s top flight division for the past three years scoring 13 goals, has signed a new 3-year contract with Osmanlispor after spending half of the previous season with Akhisar on loan from Basaksehir. The new contract negotiations also led to his last-minute disciplinary dismissal from the 24-men squad coach Christian Pannuci called up for Albania’s next two World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Macedonia in early September.

“I respect the coach’s decision because at the end of the day, he has his own rules. It was just a misunderstanding,” Cikalleshi said after being left out of the squad due to not making it in time.

The 27-year-old striker was transferred for €2 million to Osmanlıspor, an Ankara-based club with not much history in the top Turkish league. He will reportedly earn €850,000 a season, apparently making him the second best paid Albanian internationals after Napoli fullback Elseid Hysaj.

A product of the Albanian championship where he played several years until 2014, Cikalleshi has been playing in Turkey since 2015 following a brief spell in Croatia with Split.

Other important transfers for the new season include Ledian Memushaj’s move from demoted Pescara which he captained from 2016 to Serie A newly promoted Benevento.

Albania’s promising forward Rey Manaj was surprisingly transferred to Granada in Spain’s second division on loan from Inter Milan, but with a sale option. The forward made a lackluster performance on loan to Pescara and Pisa in the previous season. Having made only three appearances with the national side, Manaj still has to earn a place.

Earlier this summer, Armando Sadiku moved to Legia Warsaw on a three-year contract with one of Poland’s most successful clubs, leaving Switzerland where he played for the past six years with several top flight clubs. The national side’s key striker has already scored twice in the top Polish league.

Midfielder Liridon Latifi who helped Skenderbeu earn a second historic Europa league qualification has also left Albania’s most successful club of the past decade, after making history in European competitions.

The 23-year old Kosovo-born playmaker and Albanian international was hailed as a hero by Skenderbeu players and fans as he bid goodbye to Skenderbeu after almost three years to move to Hungarian top league side Puskas Academy.

Kosovo-born Albanian international Ermir Lenjani has also moved to Switzerland’s Sion recently following two unsuccessful seasons with Rennes and Nantes in France.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 30, 2017 17:40