With Cristian Chivu, Razvan Rat and Stefan Radu out injured, Razvan Lucescu offered Gabriel Tamas (transferred in January to West Bromwich Albion) the chance to reclaim his spot in the team. Another surprise is the absence of the first two choices for the goalkeeper postion, Lobont and Coman, but, looking at the likes of Gaman, Sepsi, Florescu or Deac, it’s obvious that the National Team coach is trying to evaluate some of the promising, yet established players in the first division. Here’s is the full list of players:
- Goalkeepers: Mircea Bornescu (Rapid, 29), Costel Pantilimon (FC Timisoara, 23)
- Defenders: Cristian Panin (CFR Cluj, 31), Vasile Maftei (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Gabriel Tamas (WBA, 26), Dorin Goian (Palermo, 29), Mirel Radoi (Al-Hilal, 28), Valerica Gaman (Universitatea Craiova, 21), Laszlo Sepsi (FC Timisoara, 23), Mihai Nesu (FC Utrecht, 27)
- Midfielders: Banel Nicolita (Steaua, 25), Mihai Roman (FC Brasov, 25), Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Paul Codrea (Siena, 28), Tiberiu Ghioane (Dynamo Kiew, 28), George Florescu (FC Midjtyland, 25), Ciprian Deac (CFR Cluj, 24)
- Forwards: Gigel Bucur (Kuban, 29), Andrei Cristea (Dinamo Bucharest, 25), Ciprian Marica (VFB Stuttgart, 24), Daniel Niculae (Auxerre, 27), Marius Niculae (Dinamo Bucharest, 28).
Update: Lucescu decided that the third keeper will be Steaua’s Ciprian Tatarusanu (22), while the injured Iulian Apostol has been replaced by his colleague from Unirea Razvan Paduretu (28).
- Already monitorred by FC Sevilla, Unirea’s very promising keeper Giedrius Arlauskis (22) has become a target for Everton, as well. Last night, the Lithuanian was watched once again from the stands by an Everton scout and, although he could have done better (“especially on the second and third goal”, as he agreed after the game), he remains probably one of the most interesting players from Romania.
- Steaua held the initial talks with Cristian Fabbiani (26). The Argentinian centre-forward asked for a huge salary, given his recent struggles, 250.000 EUR/season, but his agent Luciano Duthu says that an agreement could be found, as the player is motivated to return to Romania and prove that he’s not finished. Released on a free transfer by CFR, he should lower a lot his demands just to get a shot at a permanent deal, as Steaua won’t be willing to offer him more than 10-15.000 per month, until the summer.
- Marko Ljubinkovic (28) and FC Vaslui are ready to part ways, but in a fashion that should make club owner Adrian Porumboiu regret the decision to keep the player and reject important offers, between 1,5 and 2 million Euros. Ljubinkovic has been informed by coach Marius Lacatus that he’s not part of his plans and sent to train with the reserve team, but now has been reported missing from training. The Serbian midfielder has had a trumendeous 2007/2008 season, scoring 16 goals in 30 matches :-O and, after another decent year (28 games/6 goals), lost motivation turning from a key player into just a rotation/backup solution.
- After Roberto De Zerbi (30) and Felice Piccolo (26), CFR Cluj signed a third Italian player, in the very last day of the winter mercato. Davide Bottone (23) comes from Torino and will play for CFR until the end of the season. Bottone is a central midfielder, with one cap for the Italian U21, and has the chance to become the first Italian to have played in Liga I, as De Zerbi is stil out and Piccolo wasn’t even on the bench for the match against Unirea Urziceni.
- Rapid announced the signing of Diego Ciz (28), who has a booked flight to Bucharest and is expected to sign a contract until the summer. Ciz, who can play as a full back on both sides, comes as a backup solution for left back Vladimir Bozovic (28), but could become a good replacement for Cristian Sapunaru (25), on the right, in case the ban received in Portugal will keep him from playing for Rapid. The defender from Uruguay belongs to Olimpia and comes in Romania on a loan deal that can be turned into a definitive transfer next summer. Read more…
Ok, it’s suicidal to attack Liverpool, when you’re tactically, technically, mentally and physically inferior, but Levy’s announced and probable approach sounds like the written will of a guy facing death on the electric bench! ;-)
The Israeli coach, who has worked until now in changing the team’s English style teached to perfection by Dan Petrescu, has one excuse: lacks the players to switch from this 4-1-4-1 (which he didn’t abandon even when trailing against CFR Cluj, at home, on Monday!) to a different setup, that would at least offer more options to play a positive passing game.
Still, for the love of the beautiful game, for any fan’s convictions that miracles can happen in football, that the opponents have also only two feet and, most important, for the 25.000 guys that bought a ticket and the millions that bought beer for them and their friends, he MUST take a swing at Liverpool. He’ll probably miss, that’s why I’d recommend not to wait until the 75th minute, with 10 men organized to perfection in their own half, defending an “honorable loss”. Because, dear Mr. Levy, we already had hundreds of Romanian coaches specialized in such wonderful achievements…
- As the transfer window in Romania closes today , reports suggest that Dinamo is pushing for a surprising and very late move, announcing that an agreement has been reached with Modibo Diakite (22) from Lazio. Still, this looks like pure speculation, as it is based on the good understanding between the two clubs, who made a good deal with Stefan Radu (23) back in 2008, and the fact that coach Edy Reja announced the player what he already knew – that he’s just a backup solution.
Rapid seems to have given up the attempts to sign Dacian Varga (25), the winger that left a good impression in the Champions League with Unirea Urziceni and who’s now back at his club, Sportul Studentesc, in the second division. The negotiation stopped, as club owner Vasile Siman wanted to include Tiberiu Balan (29) in the loan deal that would have forced Rapid to pay 500.000 EUR until the end of the season.
- Steaua Bucharest will cut the technical staff’s wages with 50% starting next March, in another attempt to reduce the wage bill at the club. The only one who escapes this measure is head coach Mihai Stoichita, who earns 120.000 EUR per season. Right now, his assitants are getting 3.000 EUR per month, the highest paid assistant manager in Romania being Alin Minteuan, from CFR Cluj. Read more…
After escaping the threat represented by Gigel Bucur, who moved from Timisoara to Kuban this winter, Pantelis Kapetanos used the first official match of the season to break away from the other players that are fighting for the Romanian golden boot award. He scored Steaua’s only goal in the surprising home loss against Ceahlaul and was the most dangerous player on the pitch for the red and blue outfit in a match that got off to a perfect start, but ended up as a real nightmare. Read more…