- Former Steaua and Universitatea Craiova striker, Valentin Badea (27), found an agreement with Politehnica Iasi until the end of the season and will try to help the club avoid relegation. Badea played just under 150 matches in the top flight, scoring 47 goals in the process, but has also international experience, having played and scored for Steaua in European competitions.
- Dinamo’s eternal reserve goalie, Florin Matache (27), has finally left the club, and not on another loan deal. “The Liberec hero”, as nicknamed after his last excellent display for the Red Dogs, agreed to a move to Universitatea Cluj, in the second division, but the club has an excellent chance of promotion at the end of the current season. Matache will stay in Cluj for two and a half years and joins other former Dinamo players (used mainly in the reserve team), like Andrei Nitu (central defender), George Busca (versatile defender), Nicolae Musat (left back), Dan Busca (defensive midfielder), Valentin Lemnaru (striker) and Andrei Voican (striker). All joined the club since last summer, when former Dinamo shareholder took over Universitatea and started an ambitious project for the most beloved club from Cluj.
- A target for both Steaua Bucharest and FC Vaslui, Edwin Ouon (29) has very slim chances to come and play in Romania this year. The defender’s agent, David Lasaracina, admitted that FC Vaslui’s president, Adrian Porumboiu, was a man of honor and had presented an official offer like the one discussed over the phone (a transfer fee of 700.000 EUR), but the player wanted Steaua instead. Here, the negotiation reached a dead point when Steaua offered 200.000 upfront to AEL Limassol, plus an extra 600.000 EUR in the summer, in case the Bucharest side will go on and win the title, and started to curse everyone in the room when he realized that he cannot find an agreement.
- FC Timisoara’s owner Marian Iancu announced the end of negotiations with the Armenian twins, Arman and Artavazd Karamyan, whose contracts will expire in the summer. And, unlilke other clubs, Timisoara won’t send the pair to the club’s reserve team until then as punishment for not signing an extension, instead, offered them the chance to find a mutual agreement with the club to cease the current deals right now and look for another team. It’s a nice approach, that repays both players. Artavazd played 92 matches for Timisoara, scoring 10 goals and often wearing the team’s armband, while his brother Arman collected 50 matches in the Viola shirt and scored 16 goals.
- FIFA agent Florin Manea has been promised a 100.000 EUR bonus in case Rapid Bucharest wins the title, to repay the work done in this mercato period without any comissions. Florin Manea is the son of current Rapid coach Nicolae Manea and helped the club negotiate with the likes of Edgars Gauracs from Ventspils and Ilie Iordache, from AEK Athens.
- Dinamo Bucharest is trying to convince Ousmane N’Doye (31) to extend the current deal, which should expire in the summer. The strong left footed midfielder left a solid impression in Romania both at FC Vaslui and Dinamo and looks to be better than most of his opponents even without trying too hard on the pitch. It seems that the Senegalese has already been contacted by Neuchatel Xamax and that Dinamo is facing a real struggle to keep hold of the player.
Dinamo – Florin Bratu (29 years old, right winger/forward)
Injured in October 2008, Bratu returned on the pitch after a 13 months long nightmare, but only played one game for Dinamo’s reserve team, in the second division. He had suffered a severe injury to his knee and was poorly treated while in Romania, but made a complete recovery after spending the last few months in Italy. It remains to be seen if he can display the same pace, confidence and coolness in front of goal, but he has enough time during this long winter break to regain his match fitness and be ready to make an impact in the second half of season.
Bratu has a solid scoring record for the Red Dogs, with 27 goals in 61 matches, while the injury suffered in 2008 came after he had scored 7 times in 9 appearances. His return will bolster an impressive attacking force, as he will compete with the likes of Marius Niculae, Claudiu Niculescu and Andrei Cristea, but will also be an alternative to Gabriel Torje, for the right winger role.
Steaua – Ovidiu Petre (27 years old, central defensive midfielder)
Tormented by injuries, he should finally have a chance to make an impact for Steaua, after recovering completely from his fourth knee surgery of a career that looked very promising indeed. 11 matches last season and only 4 during the current campaign is obviously too little from a player that showed only glimpses of what he could offer to the red and blue outfit.
Strong anchorman, Petre should not only provide the needed cover for a renewed defensive line, but he will also inject a dose of leadership in a team that lost influent figures like Radoi and Ghionea.
Unirea Urziceni – Marius Onofras (29 years old, forward)
Missed almost the entire second half of last season due to a strange injury to his right knee and played only 10 games in the league in the current campaign. A key player in Dan Petrescu’s tactical setup, with a very interesting role on the pitch, where he was always switching between attack and midfield, helping in recovering the ball and then running the channels up front, on paths learned to perfection in training, reminded everyone of his importance with the excellent goal scored in the Champions League against Glasgow Rangers.
Outstanding work-rate and determination, plus the good scoring instincts and solid understanding with key centre-forward Marius Bilasco, make Onofras a valuable asset for Unirea, but we should see if new coach Ronny Levy realizes his importance for the team. In the current campaign, played only 10 games in the league (four starts), scoring 4 goals, and made four appearances as a sub in the Champions League group stage, scoring once.
FC Timisoara – Cristian Mejia (19 years old, forward)
The skilful Colombian forward has arrived in Romania three months ago, but FC Timisoara could not register his transfer due to a conflict between the club that raised Mejia and the club that sold him to Timisoara. Has played only in a friendly match and coach Ioan Ovidiu Sabau hopes that he can add pace and creativity up front and that the time wasted so far at least helped the player adjust to the new lifestyle and blend into the squad.
FC Timisoara – Milos Brezinsky (25 years old, central defender)
Severely injured to his left knee in December 2008, the towering centre-back missed an entire year, but is now back to full fitness and should play as a regular in the second half of season. Has played 21 matches for FC Timisoara since his transfer from Slovan Liberec (after a loan spell at Sparta Prague) and looked strong, confident and a influent figure at the back. Should further improve a strong defense, which relied mostly on the work done by the entire team and a consistent and efficient centre-back like him could allow the coach to replace one of the two central defensive midfielders with a more attacking minded player.
- The Dayro Moreno case took a new turn, as the player looks very determined to leave Romania. In the time spent here, he tried to convince Steaua’s board to accept a bid from Once Caldas, although the Bucharest side had already shook hands with FC Timisoara. Moreno held talks with Timisoara, but surprised everyone with his demands. Knowing what the club is ready to offer (around 200.000 EUR / season), the attacking midfielder asked 300.000 EUR / season, while at Steaua he was getting only 60.000 EUR / season. His strategy angered Timisoara’s president Marian Iancu, who decided to withdraw from any negotation and Moreno returned to Colombia, where he could get good news (Steaua accepts an inferior offer from Once Caldas) or a bad news (Steaua suspends the player for the reminder of his contract).
- The veteran defender Cosmin Contra (34) is looking forward to a return to his beloved club FC Timisoara. Only a reserve player at Getafe in the first half of season, Contra is tempted by a return home given Timisoara’s chances of winning the title. This won’t be a premiere for the expert right back, as he did it once before, when he was an Atletico Madrid player, back in 2005.
- Steaua has not given up on two of its targets and the club is pushing hard for a deal with AEL Limassol regarding central defender Edwin Ouon (29), desperately wanted by coach Mihai Stoichita, after the red and blue outfit parted ways with Ionut Rada and skipper Sorin Ghionea. Steaua raised its offer from 300.000 EUR to 700.000 EUR. The same transfer fee could be paid also for FC Brasov’s right back, Rui Duarte (29). The Portuguese is probably the best player in the league on this position and is currently in a middle of a scandal with his club, having refused to return to Romania and start training for two weeks now.
- Gheorghe Grozav (19) has become officially a Standard Liege player. The promising winger signed a three years long deal on January 20 and the Belgian club has the option to extend it for another two seasons.
- Steaua’s skipper and long-serving player (eight consecutive seasons for the red and blue outfit) Sorin Ghionea (30) rejoins former coach Oleg Protasov at FC Rostov. He agreed to a three years long contract and will earn 300.000 EUR per season at the Russian club.Rostov played just 100.000 EUR for his transfer.
- CFR Cluj and Andre Leao (24) parted ways and the Portuguese central midfielder will join Pacos Ferreira, after agreeing to a three years long contract. Bought from Beira-Mar in 2007 for 250.000 EUR, he was recently released on a free transfer, after collecting only 25 matches in the first division for the Romanian club.
- Rapid Bucharest completed the loan deal of Latvian striker Edgars Gauracs (21). The Romanian club paid 50.000 EUR and has an option to make the deal permanent for another 450.000 EUR in the summer.
- Cristian Daminuta (19) is trying to take back previous statements released in the Romanian press, which have angered Inter Milano’s officials. Now training with Dinamo Bucharest, Daminuta was quoted saying that he never wants to return to Inter, but now he says that he was only angry about the unfair balance in the press between his agitated nightlife and good performances for the Primavera squad. Of course, he added that it would be a dream come true to play for Inter (probably thinking about the expiring date of his contract, which is June 2013, and the chance of a looong suspension). Although he made his debut in the Romanian first division when he was only sixteen, the defensive midfielder / central defender played only five games as a senior so far – two for Timisoara and three for Modena, in Serie B, where he was loaned by Inter.
- Dayro Moreno (24) seems destined to continue playing in Romania, where he recently said that he will refuse to return. He did return, last night, and it seems that the negotiation with FC Timisoara will go very smoothly. The Viola club has already an agreement with Steaua over the transfer fee (450.000 EUR plus taxes), while the Colombian attacking midfielder will have the chance to earn 12.000 EUR per month, 7.000 EUR more than he was getting paid at Steaua, after he suffered an important wage cut earlier this season.
- Cristian Fabbiani (26) will have to find quickly another club or he will have to return against his will in Romania, in order to respect his current deal with CFR Cluj. Not that he’s wanted there, but the player’s agent Luciano Duthu knows it’s the only way his client will get paid and, at the same time, won’t risk a suspension. And he will get paid well!, because El Ogro earns at CFR 350.000 EUR/season, a deal signed in 2007 and justified only in the first season, when the centre-forward scored 11 goals in 28 matches. Overweight and attitude problems forced two consecutive loan deals, to Newell’s Old Boys (5 goals in 15 matches) and River Plate (2 goals in 25 macthes), and without having them solved in the meantime, the Argentinian has no future at CFR Cluj.
Steaua’s captain, Sorin Ghionea (30), is very close to a move to Russian first division, after the Bucharest side accepted a 100.000 EUR bid for the experienced centre-back. If the player will accept personal terms with FC Rostov, which is very likely, he will leave Steaua after eight consecutive seasons and almost 130 matches in the league for the red and blue outfit. In Russia, he’ll get to work again with coach Oleg Protasov and I believe that every coach who got the chance to train Ghionea in the past wouldn’t think twice, not at this incredible price. Ghionea has quality, experience, leadership, solid work ethic and all these should compensate for the indeed visible loss of pace and agility, especially at a club like Rostov. Good deal for the Russians!
Pandurii Targu Jiu announced the transfer of Stojan Vranjes, from Borac Banja Luka, who signed a three years long contract with the Romanian first division outfit.
Although it seems like a nice deal for this rather small and unambitious club, as Vranjes (23) played regularly for Banja Luka in the past four seasons and was probably took for almost nothing, being in the last six months of his current contract, I think the reaction of the coach says pretty much everything. “I’ve heard that he’s an attacking midfielder, but I’ll be able to tell you more about him after I see him in a friendly game”, said Liviu Ciobotariu, let me remind you, the team’s coach. I rest my case.