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Budescu’s move to China is actually a good sign?

February 3, 2016 Leave a comment
Warningtry looking at the piece ignoring Budescu’s struggles to adapt there, integrate a hard working environment, the history of Romanian players transferred abroad and sent home after 6 months of disappointment, etc :)
Let’s put aside his playing style, his weaknesses on and off the pitch and focus on these facts:
  • he’s been scoring more than 10 goals per season in the last 4 championships;
  • he’s been the most decisive player in Liga 1 in the past 2 years;
  • he forced his way into the national team against the will of Anghel Iordanescu (who had to give in to a lot of pressure from the public and media) and has chipped in important goals already.
Constantin Budescu, Astra’s number 10 who helped a club with important debt towards its players finish last year topping the standings in Liga 1, was hot property and was destined to move away this winter. With Astra needing desperately cash to pay salaries, Budescu’s options were either Steaua or Umm Salal from Qatar. Too few, but apparently the player refused for years to work with an agent thinking that he could manage his career by himself. Not the brightest of ideas, but the guy was always better with his feet than his head…
As it often happens, of the two option he ended up picking a third, which raised more eyebrows and questions, but what really intrigues me is that it also prompted quite a few jokes over here.
budescu-astra
Yes, it’s China and it’s actually a second division club that got the player’s signature for the following three years. Yes, he moved there for the money and put in jeopardy his first and probably last chance of playing at a final tournament with the national team. But maybe, before laughing (without his millions in the bank), maybe it would be best to get off our high horses and stop thinking about China like Liga 1 is actually La Liga or 1.Bundesliga and he’s going actually to an inferior competition. And ask ourselves if it really is the end of the (footballing) world. Looking only at the moves of Jackson Martinez, Ramires and Gervinho, to name a few, should be enough to reconsider all this and also acknowledge the fact that it’s all reasonable and makes perfect sense. Would anyone had considered Budescu ready to compete in the same league with such names? Oh, and did any of those making fun and criticising his decision have watched lately any games from the Chinese leagues?!
Isn’t it quite possible that one or two years from now, when Dalian Aerbin could allow Budescu play against the above mentioned star players and when other top footballers would have moved there, to look at all this from a different perspective?

Steaua signs Szukala, but Rapid, Petrolul and FC Vaslui add important players as well!

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Four rounds gone in Romania and a lot of clubs keep on working on their rosters. A sign of ambition, but also of some average work done during the summer, considering that all the moves presented below could have been done in the same conditions even a couple of months ago.

Steaua, who decided to release the once highly rated Florin Costea, bought Lukasz Szukala, a 28 years old central defender, who comes for a reported fee of 0.5 million Euros. The player was requested by Laurentiu Reghecampf (he was the one who brought him to Romania from Germany’s lower leagues back in 2010) and comes after two full seasons for Gloria Bistrita and Universitatea Cluj and two full… matches played for Petrolul.

The deal was supposed to be more complex, as Steaua requested Adrian Cristea as well, admitting to a mistake signaled a while ago: Reghecampf needs a number 10 in his ideal tactical setup and it was a mistake to allow Mihai Radut to move on loan to Pandurii. Radut who now has 3 goals in 3 matches played under the excellent coach Petre Grigoras. But that’s another story…

Released by Steaua, Geraldo Alves signed a two years long contract with Petrolul.

Petrolul not only resisted the temptation to sell Cristea (helped by some pressure quickly applied by the ambitious fans!), but also used some of the money received for Szukala to sign Geraldo Alves. A 32 years old central defender who was released by… Steaua this summer after two very good seasons and 54 appearances for the red and blue outfit. Another mistake made by the club’s management, heavily influenced by the vocal owner Gigi Becali, as the young couple Chiriches-Gardos lacks consistency and good backup (what a surprise!).

Petrolul makes a very good signing, in spite of the player’s age, considering the wolves’ ambition to challenge at least for the European places this season, and tomorrow there will be a hot game versus Rapid, who had a two weeks break and went on a mini training camp to solve some internal issues. The Bucharest side also signed a striker, Marius Bilasco, who was never a top scorer (12 goals for Unirea Urziceni in the title winning season 2009/2010) and comes after a terrible period, poor decisions getting him to clubs like Tianjin Teda or Energie Cottbus, where he rarely played. Bilasco is the type of useful centre-forward though and should provide good competition for Blaze Ilijoski, who featured in 6 games since his transfer from FC Brasov, scoring just once.

Rapid missed out on two targets though, as Dacian Varga and Costin Curelea will move from Sportul Studentesc to FC Vaslui. On loan once again, as Vasile Siman, the club’s owner, has a habit of requesting huge transfer fees for his players. Varga is a left winger who can also feature on the right and has an interesting story, playing twice on loan for Kuban Krasnodar (and not bad at all, I might add), yet he always had to return to the club that relegated now to the second division. Curelea is also considered one of the good Romanian strikers, yet none of the top clubs managed to come up with a good enough offer for Siman in the past three years. He’s now 28 and for the first time moves away from Sportul Studentesc, where he scored 77 goals in 242 matches played in the first & second league…

 

Gabriel Torje looks to have found his next club: Udinese!

August 21, 2011 2 comments

Gabriel Torje, a little winger with a big potential. Off he goes!

The news broke after Dinamo’s 2-0 win away at Sportul Studentesc, a game Gabriel Torje wasn’t able to finish, with the words “it’s not serious, felt suffocated” on his lips while taken off the pitch by Dinamo’s worried medical staff. The young international might have lost his breath while making yet another attempt to impress, but according to prosport.ro and gsp.ro Dinamo finally got a pleasing offer for the player, of 4 or 5 million Euros offered by Udinese. So, risking a physical punishment from the experienced Marius Niculae for playing mostly on his own, looking for goals, Torje might be lucky enough this time to dribble his way out of this, all the way to Italy.

It might look like an excellent deal for the Bucharest side, who also sold a couple of years ago Stefan Radu to Lazio, for 5,4 mil. E, but it’s not and the Red Dogs were right to invest in the little winger, but wrong to pay initially 2 mil. E to Politehnica Timisoara for only 50% of his transfer rights. With the other half bought for a similar amount and no trophies won while having the player in the team, they can only be proud to have offered Torje the chance to impress, which he obviously did.

Promoted by Gheorghe Hagi when he was still 16 and dubbed by Timisoara’s fans “Messi from Banat” (Banat is a region in the Western part of the country), Messi, sorry, Torje deserves credit for staying focused on the job, in spite of a couple of delicate moments, which usually happen to every young player that meets the Capital’s nightlife. He kept on improving as a player, getting better and better on and off the ball, which you could notice every once in while, in between the numerous episodes from the past year when he was annoyingly selfish.

Even so, his record isn’t bery impressing, with 19 goals and 23 assists in 129 matches played for Dinamo in all competitions. He also collected 9 caps in Romania’s senior and often pathetic national team, scoring once. Previously monitorred by Paris Saint Germain, Hamburg, Wolfsburg or Lille, he’s finally off and it’s hard to find a better club than Udinese in promoting such a young player. He might not turn into Messi, but if “I friulani” make him good enough to play alongside Messi, it should be good enough, right?

PS For any abuse that might follow if tomorrow morning it was just another false press report, please use the above mentioned websites. Thanks! :-)

 

Steaua makes the second most expensive signing in the club’s history: Mihai Costea, from Universitatea Craiova

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Mihai Costea will have problems coping with the pressure that surrounds the Bucharest club...

Gigi Becali didn’t learn a single thing from the 2009 deal that saw Cristi Tanase move from FC Arges to Steaua, in exchange of an incredible 1.8 million Euros, for just 50% of the player’s rights! Tanase has been a huge disappointment so far, in spite of glimpses of quality, like the Anfield display, when he scored against Liverpool, in the Europa League, but that doesn’t stop the Bucharest side make a second, very similar deal.

Yesterday, Becali announced that in a matter of days the smaller of the Costea brothers will join Steaua in the summer. The transfer’s details: 1.4 million Euros for 60% of the player’s rights! Becali said that he initially tried to get Florin, but in spite of a 3 million Euros offer, Craiova’s owner refused to sell, as the deal would have angered the fans. In fact, this is probably a strategy to calm them down anyway, with a third hot prospect joining a Bucharest club, after the other two former U21 players, Valerica Gaman and Stefan Barboianu, now playing for Dinamo.

Does Mihai Costea, who scored only 2 goals in 20 appearances this season!, deserve such an impressive investment? Definitely not. Do you expect to sell him for what? 4 million Euros? Another detail that doesn’t click: looking at the standings and knowing Universitatea’s financial struggle, there was absolutely no rush in concluding the deal now, not to mention the lack of competition for Mihai Costea’s signature! Why not wait until the summer, then, when Craiova might be below the line and with a bigger pressure to sell?

Well, selling Stancu to Galatasaray for 6 million Euros (only half goes to Steaua, the other half wil fill the agents’ pockets) might have something to do with Becali’s “generosity”. In my opinion, though, this deal is definitely related to the “liasons” that make the ball bounce strangely in some matches and Romanian football just a fascinating game, amusing if watched from the right distance, but scary at every approach. With no clear financial rules, no relation to the other European markets and just a firm belief that every player that gets to start a Liga I game should deserve at least one million Euros. But, there’s saying: stupid is the one who pays, not the one who asks…

Steaua, Dinamo and Rapid add foreign quality to their defences

February 20, 2011 1 comment

Three central defenders have signed for the Bucharest clubs, but every single transfer has a rather debatable reasoning:

A rotation player for Unirea Urziceni, Mehmedovic has had his share of quality matches

Ersin Mehmedovic to Dinamo – the Red Dogs have had such a poor defensive record in the first half of the season that any addition would seem good enough. Moti, who was once considered Serie A material, has been out of form for more than a year, but Garat, Grigore and Scarlatache were so poor or inconsistent that he never lost the first spot in the pecking order of a former defender, Ioan Andone, who is now in charge of the team. Signing the towering Serbian centre-back seems, from this point of view, justified, but the 29 years old, who comes after two great years and a miserable half of year with Unirea Urziceni, will only provide backup to the first choice pair: (the newly and contested international) Dragos Grigore – Cosmin Moti. So, why not promote a young(er) lad, considering that Dinamo’s most realistic chance to earn a place in Europe remains the Romanian Cup? It’s even harder to explain it, as we were experiencing the rejuvenation of the pack, in all the other areas…

The 30 years old's move to Steaua was done with the help of his former manager, Victor Piturca

Valentin Iliev to Steaua – The Bulgarian has played a solid first half of season in Romania, for Universitatea Craiova, and moves to Bucharest for not-such-a-free transfer, as he gets a hefty 250.000 Euros bonus on the spot, a trick to make him look like he’s not earning than the rest of the squad, with his 10.000 Euros/month deal that stretches until June 2012. In truth, Steaua’s chiefs are only fooling themselves. They’re dribbling their own decision to cut down wages, which forced good players like Kapetanos or Angelov away from the club, and preparing to replace a high earner like Geraldo with another one, of the same age, but, in my opinion, not in quite the same class. Not to mention that, at the moment, Steaua’s options for the role were probably the best in the league, with the experienced Galamaz and Geraldo plus the new sensation, Gardos. And should I say that the club’s biggest problems are at the other end, with Bilasco, Surdu, Burdujan and Dica yet to click and offer some guarantees that they’ll be able to provide the much needed goals for an improbable title challenge?

Now at Rapid, Ivanov should start resenting the red, a color associated with both Steaua and Dinamo

Pavel Vidanov to Rapid – another Bulgarian, another solid defense, but at least this signing makes some sense! Vidanov is 22 and, as a senior international (4 caps for Bulgaria), can be considered a bargain at a price way under half of million Euros. In fact, it could turn out to be an excellent deal, although I expect him not to be rushed into the team, where he’ll find quicker some space on the right side, rather than in the centre, where Marcos Antonio and Marius Constantin have done great in the first half of season, plus worked together the entire winter break.

Timisoara looks ready to part ways with Laszlo Sepsi!

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Sepsi vs. Messi. The good old days, when playing on loan for Racing Santander

Nikola Ignjatijevic, from Red Star Belgrade, is a Poli Timisoara player and has time until June 2011 to land a better and longer deal with the Viola outfit. The 27 years old is described as a solid left back, good on the ball, who can deliver quality balls from the flank and also pose a threat with his shooting ability (thanks, Dusan!), so, he’s definitely a good addition for Poli.

Ignjatjevic had entered the last six months of his deal with Red Star and had lost his spot in the team, after the arrival of Dusko Tosic, so it was a nice move for the Romanian club. What’s left in the dark, though, is the current situation of Laszlo Sepsi, who was bought from Benfica for a lot of money and has filed a request to be released by the club. Poli’s board members didn’t look very confident when asked to comment, trying to touch a soft spot with their full of regrets statements, so I expect the 23 years old to become available on a free transfer, in the near future. That would turn his transfer to Poli from a hit into a terrible decision, but won’t help much his career either, given the timing and the lack of options to move to a better club immediately. And that’s too bad, as Sepsi is among the top 3 left backs in the league and at a very good age to make the next step and continue his development…

Gaz Metan pushing for a place in Europe: Florin Bratu goes to Medias!

January 13, 2011 1 comment

Those who have read my blog know that I have the utmost respect for Gaz Metan’s manager, Cristi Pustai, who did a great job in creating this team from scratch and ensuring a constant progress, turning a second division club into a serious contender for a place in Europe, without spending a lot of money and with the calculated moves you’d expect from a Maths teacher.

Bratu, 31, will certainly try to prove that he's not finished

Today, when his club officially presented Florin Bratu, the forward released by Dinamo Bucharest and in-demand not just in Liga I, he might have done the sort of move that could help him finish his project. 31, not exactly in top shape – has tried to regain match fitness in Bulgaria, in the first half of season, after a nasty injury – Bratu boasts enough quality to solve the team’s biggest problem. Without a natural goalscorer since Bud’s transfer to CFR Cluj, Pustai had to rely on Eric de Oliveira, the Brazilian playmaker, who is spending his last season in Medias. Bratu’s arrival, who should fit perfectly into Gaz Metan’s counter-attacking style, should add the much needed extra-dimension and it would be great if the club will have the chance to keep Eric until the end of his loan from Metropolitano, as this team could do a lot more damage in the second half of season.

Although some say he’s past it, Bratu, who scored 43 goals in 115 Liga I matches, collected 13 caps with the national team and played abroad for Galatasaray, Nantes, Valenciennes and Litex Lovech, could finish his career in style here. Famous for the excellent pace and ability to find the net with placed shots, he should benefit from the excellent work ethic within Gaz Metan’s squad and deliver in the delicate moments, having the experience and the composure to play under pressure. And, hopefully, help this small, but well organized club get a taste of European football next season.

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