Cypriot clubs have been making full use of the January transfer window with the return of one of the nation's highest-profile exports and the historic arrival of a player from another island on the other side of Europe.
AC Omonia needed a boost this week after their Saturday loss at fellow title contenders and Nicosia rivals APOEL FC, who joined them on 45 points at the top of the standings. But Omonia then stated their ambition to end a six-year wait for a championship with the signing of Cyprus's 26-goal all-time leading scorer Michalis Konstantinou for an undisclosed fee from Iraklis FC.
Change of heart
Konstantinou has been playing in Greece since a 1997 move from Enosis Neon Paralimni FC to Iraklis aged 19. He was to win five league titles and four Greek Cups with Olympiacos CFP and Panathinaikos FC, who he also helped to the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Now 30, Konstantinou had the chance to come home when leaving Olympiacos in the summer, instead rejoining Iraklis, but after signing a three-and-a-half year contract at Omonia explained his change of heart.
"When I was first approached in the summer, I had no intention of returning to Cyprus," said Konstantinou, who scored more than 100 league goals in Greece. "However, certain personal issues forced me to reconsider and once I finally decided to return to the island, Omonia were the best option for me. During my career, I have always aimed at big targets and Omonia suit my ambitions." He will have to wait for his chance, though, after being ruled out for three weeks through injury and therefore missing this Sunday's trip to reigning champions Anorthosis Famagusta FC, who sit a point behind Omonia and APOEL.
Apollon Limassol FC are well adrift of the leading trio in fifth but have made their share of headlines by becoming the first Cypriot side to sign an Icelandic player in the shape of defender Haraldur Freyr Gudmundsson. The 27-year-old, capped twice by Iceland, moves from Norwegian side Aalesunds FK after being courted by Apollon's German coach Thomas von Heesen and has signed an 18-month contract.
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