Bayer Leverkusen comment on Panos Retsos' status at Sheffield United
Bayer Leverkusen are expected to allow Panos Retsos to complete the season with Sheffield United, despite admitting that deciding where the defender’s future lies is not an immediate priority at the BayArena.
Retsos, the Greek defender, moved to South Yorkshire in January after being signed on loan until the end of this month.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the Premier League to suspend its fixture schedule in March - and the authorities in England warning competition will not resume for at least another four weeks - United must receive permission from their counterparts in Germany for Retsos to remain in South Yorkshire.
With manager Chris Wilder revealing the deal he negotiated with Leverkusen contains a clause entitling United to sign him on a permanent basis, and the 21-year-old expressing his preferred option is to stay put, Leverkusen are unlikely to summon him back to North-Rhine Westphalia.
But with the Bundesliga set to return to action today after its own shutdown, a spokesperson for Peter Bosz’s side told The Star their focus is on Monday’s game against Werder Bremen rather than Retsos’ situation.
Admitting the challenges presented by Covid-19 means it is “impossible” to state what is likely to happen “in a few weeks, nevermind a few days,” they said: “First of all, we have to carry on finishing the Bundesliga season. Thank you for your understanding.”
Retsos, a graduate of the Olympiakos youth system, was described as a “very special” talent by Leverkusen’s sporting director Rudi Voller after arriving in Germany three years ago.
With injury limiting his opportunities there last term, Retsos, who has appeared in both the UEFA Champions and Europa leagues, made his debut for United during February’s FA Cup win over Reading.
Despite admitting the form of his squad - which had climbed to seventh in the table before football entered lockdown - had made it difficult for both Retsos and his fellow loanee Richairo Zivkovic to force themselves into United’s starting eleven, Wilder reassured the duo they would be assessed on performances during training as well as on the pitch before deciding whether to purchase them.