Giakoumakis in Visa Wait as Atlanta United Debut Delayed

Giorgos Giakoumakis’ MLS career is due to kick off with Atlanta United facing San Jose Earthquakes on 26 February, however it appears the length of time it took to conclude the £3.5m transfer from Celtic to the States may be surpassed by the time taken for GG to navigate himself through some bureaucratic delays.

It has been reported in Daily Record today that Giakoumakis has so far been unable to even train with his new teammates due to red tape hold-ups regarding his working Visa.

‘His big move to America is off to a faltering start with the frontman still waiting on approvals of a work visa ahead of Atlanta’s friendly clash with Toluca. Giakoumakis will have to wait on his debut with the first game of the campaign rapidly approaching with his new club kicking off the season against San Jose Earthquakes on February 26.’

Such administrative issues will be a concern for both the player and his club, as Giakoumakis will certainly need some match practice alongside some intensive training to make up for the fact he has not kicked a ball competitively since 14 January, where he signed off his Celtic career in the League Cup semi-final win over Kilmarnock.

Yet despite the delays new boss Gonzalo Pineda believes Giakoumakis’ passion for scoring goals will ensure he is a big success in the MLS.

“You can see immediately that he’s a guy that is passionate about scoring goals. And what I like about him is he’s always on the move, looking for gaps. And once he’s inside the 18, he has those double movements that I really like. So, he’s always pressuring, he goes to the near post, he goes to the far post, he’s going to the near post, he drops in and stays compact.

“And then another one is probably a different look, but he’s a big, big target guy. So he can give us a couple more variances in our attacking shape. And maybe at times, when teams try to pin us back and put pressure on us, maybe we can play the ball to him, he shields the ball, waits for the supporting runs, and then we start progression from there. So he can give us a little bit of that as well.”

The sale of Giorgos Giakoumakis mid-season is arguably one of the biggest gambles Ange Postecoglou has ever taken as Celtic boss. Few back-up strikers have ever had the goalscoring impact GG had at Celtic, and to allow the player to leave mid-season has been highlighted further with Kyogo suffering the re-occurrence of a shoulder injury against St Mirren in the Scottish Cup last weekend.

Yet the Celtic support back Postecoglou’s judgement on this one, as to be fair to the Celtic boss there hasn’t been much the Celtic boss has got wrong when it comes to player recruitment at Celtic.

And Postecoglou was quick to ensure a replacement was in place ahead of Giakoumakis’ exit, with South Korean striker Oh grabbing his first goal in Celtic colours during Celtic’s 5-1 Scottish Cup fifth round win on Saturday evening.

Celtic v St Mirren – Hyeongyu Oh celebrates scoring with team-mates during the Scottish Cup fifth round match at Celtic Park, Saturday February 11, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

However as Celtic move on without Giorgos Giakoumakis – and appear to be coping rather well so far – the Greek international is still awaiting the chance begin his career in a league the striker claimed was more competitive than Scotland. Hopefully he’ll actually get the chance soon to find out if his judgment on that one is proved correct.

Niall J

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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