Giannis Konstantelias: The exciting future of the Greek midfield by Calum Scullion
Name: Giannis Konstantelias
Place of birth: Volos
Position: Attacking midfielder
A number of very interesting young players have came through the academy and played for PAOK in recent years, players such as Christos Tzolis and Georgios Koutsias have went on to make moves to other leagues and Konstantinos Koulierakis has become a regular in the first team and is also attracting a lot of interest from big teams abroad, however the player that I think has the most potential and the highest ceiling in the PAOK setup is Giannis Konstantelias.
Giannis Konstantelias was born in Volos on the 5th of March 2003, he joined the Agia Paraskevi academy at the age of nine, he was then picked up by PAOK in 2013 and progressed through the age groups. Konstantelias made his first team debut for PAOK on January 17th 2021 in a game against OFI Crete at the age of 17.
He made a total of 3 appearances in the 20/21 season, in the 21/22 season he had a loan spell at Belgian club Kas Eupen in which he made 8 appearances before returning to PAOK. Konstantelias had his real breakout season in the 22/23 campaign, he made a total of 37 appearances for PAOK in all competitions scoring 3 goals and providing 6 assists.
So far this season Giannis has continued to play regularly and get minutes for the first team, He has made 17 appearances, scored 4 goals and provided 1 assist in all competitions.
Giannis Konstantelias is mainly an attacking midfielder that plays through the middle and is crucial to the teams play in the final third, however he has also played out on the left in a more wide role at times. On the ball the first thing I noticed about his play was his ability to make great short, neat passes in the midfield and attacking areas of the pitch, he was able to find teammates in pockets of space and can comfortably play in tight/crowded areas by making these 1-2s and other quick short passes. He would often take the ball in, take a touch and then look to find a teammate in space or making an oncoming run into the forward areas. Konstantelias was also able to make great long range passes and can switch the play out wide to a winger with ease.
I was pretty impressed with his ability to keep the ball and he showed glimpses of good dribbling skills and the ability to beat opponents with skill and trickery, he would often make good darting dribbles through the middle of the pitch and look to progress the ball into the final third. He is generally just a very enjoyable player to watch and very gifted technically.
In the games I watched Konstantelias also showed his ability as a goalscoring midfielder, he can score goals from both inside and outside of the box and at times he showed great instincts to capitalise on opponents mistakes and take his chances in front of goal when they come, for example in a game against PAS Giannina his teammate forced the goalkeeper into a mistake and the loose ball fell to Konstantelias and he showed great composure and instinct to slot the ball calmly into the goal. I would like to see his long distance shooting become more effective/accurate, he does occasionally score a great goal from distance but more often than not his ranged efforts go over the bar or are off target so that is something he does need to refine and improve to take his game to the next level.
Off the ball he makes really high quality runs through the middle and into the box which makes him an attacking threat whenever PAOK look to deliver a ball into that area. I was impressed with Konstantelias ability to consistently take up good positions outside the box and look to make himself available to his teammates in attacking situations. Defensively he pressed well high up the pitch and was very good at closing down opponents and almost forcing them into decisions, at times this led to his opponent making a mistake or allowing him to win the ball high up the pitch and look to create a chance for either himself or his teammates.
Physically Konstantelias showed good pace, acceleration and the ability to get around the pitch easily, however he did struggle against stronger/more physical opponents at times so he should maybe look to add a bit more muscle to his frame as it would help him compete in duels/challenges and also make him harder to dispossess.
The only other thing I think Giannis Konstantelias needs to improve before he can be considered for a move to a top 5 league is becoming more consistent/clinical in his decision making in the final third, as seen by his stats he does score and create a fair amount of goals but I seriously think these numbers could be doubled if his decision making was better, in the games I watched he wasted a number of chances and at times should have passed to a teammate in space instead of shooting in a crowded area or should have taken a shot instead of passing at times.
Overall Evaluation and career future:
Overall I think Giannis Konstantelias is a serious talent and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last season at PAOK before a move to a bigger league, if he continues to impress and score/create goals regularly then it is only a matter of a time before a big club takes interest in him.
I think he is definitely capable of playing in a top 5 league but I would like to see him in Holland at Feyenoord or PSV for a season or 2 first, I think he would suit playing for a team like this and acclimatising to playing in a top European league at a team that aims to be competing and doing well in the Champions or Europa league every season.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of his season plays out and I just hope he continues to start games and play consistently to help him develop and almost ready himself for a future move whilst also hopefully helping PAOK to success.