After weeks of speculation, Leverkusen reportedly have an agreement with Talleres.
Bayer Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane could be getting another reinforcement for central defense in the form of Ecuadorian left footer Piero Hincapié (19).
Hincapié had a breakthrough season with Talleres in the Argentine first division and featured for Ecuador in the Copa America this year. Leverkusen have been reported as an interested party for his signature in the past few weeks. Competition from Napoli has now been ruled out as they cannot reach an agreement with Talleres. In addition to that, Talleres have purchased an additional 15% economic rights for the player today, taking their total share in the event of a sale to 65%.
According to journalist César Luis Merlo, Leverkusen have an agreement with Talleres, with Hincapié set to put pen to paper on a 4 year contract. TNT Sports Argentina reports that the transfer fee is in the range of 7 million Euros.
After Sven Bender, Alexander Dragovic and Tin Jedvaj left the club this summer, Hincapié would be the second centre back signed by Rolfes and Co. after the commitment of Odilon Kossounou last month.
Fans were quick to spot hints of the move in the past few days with Hincapié sharing a picture on his Instagram page with a wink and a lion emoji. One of these fans ought to have been inspired by Sherlock Holmes, as they spotted the time in Hincapié's wrist watch in the picture, which only made sense if he was in Europe (or it was an old picture). Either way, the Ecuadorian is expected to be announced as a Werkself player in the coming days.
Does this mean the end for Retsos?
Panagiotis Retsos has had a topsy-turvy career in Germany. Signed by Leverkusen from Olympiakos for 18.5 million Euros in 2017, the Greek has not been able to establish himself at Bayer, or even on loan at other clubs. He was the only available option in central defense alongside Kossounou in the DFB Pokal first round game against Lokomotive Leipzig. While he gave a decent performance, with his side winning 3-0, the signing of Hincapié sends him further down the pecking order. The fact that he is entering the final year of his contract could mean that Bayer won't stand in his way if an offer comes in for him. A player with huge potential who came in with high expectations, his progress was stalled by injuries and lots of changes in position.