After Chiriches and Chipciu, who have already joined the club, Steaua has reached an agreement with FC Vaslui for Wesley’s transfer, but the Brazilian ace is not in a hurry to leave his current club, although the owner, Adrian Porumboiu, is sending some disturbing messages.
In a period expected for almost a year, when the transfer ban should finally be lifted, instead of a spending spree, Porumboiu keeps underlining his decision to retire next summer, looking eager to offload the highest earners and the best players, in order to reduce the costs to a minimum until the moment when he’ll be passing on the club to the local authorities. Wesley has two more years on his current deal – impressive by our standards – and is waiting for Gigi Becali to at least match the wages in order to complete what could be the hit of the winter mercato in Romania.
With the all time best foreign scorer in Liga I ineligible for the Europa League matches, it’s obvious that Steaua will try to push for the title in 2012, and the red and blue outfit is getting some positive signals from league leaders, Dinamo, who are having a hard time keeping Marius Niculae from nailing a last big contract abroad. In fact, the Top 3 teams (Dinamo, CFR Cluj and Rapid) are yet to make a move, with Universitatea Cluj, currently in 7th place, getting two important additions already.
Goalkeeper Mircea Bornescu – impressive in the handful of matches played for Petrolul, after his failed attempt to play in the Greek SuperLeague – and central defender George Galamaz – who left Steaua on a free transfer – will add experience and further strengthen a team that was looking good on paper anyway before the start of the season, but failed to impress in the league, staying quite far from the European places.
In the rumors section, we have Dinamo looking to sign Paul Parvulescu from Gaz Metan (they’ve been trying to do it for two years now…), but also Radu Barbu, a former U21 national team player who was released on a free transfer by… Petrolul, due to his below par performances. A name everyone uses when it comes to big clubs in need of a good striker is Costin Curelea, captain of Sportul Studentesc, who scored 3 goals for the team placed third from bottom.
Steaua seems to have some problems selling Iasmin Latovlevici for around 1 million Euros, heavily linked with Saint-Etienne by the Romanian media for a couple of weeks, and are yet to make a move regarding the Costea brothers, who are unsettled and unsettling for the dressing room. I expect Rapid to offload a few players, with Cassio Vargas, Iulian Apostol and Glauber Berti among the favorites, but they definitely need at least one good front man. There are some similar signals coming from Otelul Galati, with the president Marius Stan saying that they could have Unirea Urziceni’s faith. Obviously, that’s too much and it means that the club is preparing the fans for some important sales.
There haven’t been any rumors lately, but with Steaua in big need of a right back and Otelul willing to cash in on the best players, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cornel Rapa, half of year ago looking good enough for the senior national team, completing the Bucharest side’s impressive transfer activity…
Steaua parted ways with George Galamaz, the centre-back who moved on a free transfer to Universitatea Cluj as soon as the competition stopped, but the former champion with Unirea Urziceni makes way to one of the most promising central defenders in the country.
Vlad Chiriches had signed with the red and blue outfit for a few months and the fresh Romanian international has now completed his move from Pandurii Targu Jiu. He teams-up with a certain Florin Gardos, a player who was basically at the same level a few months ago, but will hope for better fortunes, as Gardos has failed to regain his place in the team, after an impressive debut season.
The second finalized deal involves Alexandru Chipciu, a 23 years old wide midfielder, something Steaua definitely needed, but there’s an interesting issue here: Chipciu has played the majority of his games on the left side, a place occupied by Cristian Tanase, one of the highest rated players in Ilie Stan’s team. Just like Tanase, he’s also right footed, and there’s no way he was bought to compete with Steaua’s number 10. That would mean that the club just paid the reported 1,5 million Euros for a player who is not used to play on the right side of the midfield? Wouldn’t be too surprised, but those who expect an instant impact from Chipciu should have the common sense to offer him some time to adjust…
Wtith over 2 million Euros paid for 2 players, one in an area that was very well covered, Steaua needs some more money to make the team competitive. There’s a desperate need for a reliable right back, with Ifeanyi Emeghara unrealiable, Novak Martinovic not gifted for the role and Gabriel Matei out injured for a long period. There’s nobody in the centre of the park able to either play box-to-box or show at least some playmaking ability. Pablo Brandan, who’s just a versatile left back is now in the position to pull the strings in the middle, with Alexandru Bourceanu very hard working, but limited on the ball.
In spite of all this, Gigi Becali is now very close to adding a new forward to a team that definitely doesn’t lack options upfront. But, if he indeed gets FC Vaslui’s Wesley, one of the best players in the league, it’s worth the extra investment. This is the sort of buy that can provide an instant return in terms of result, exactly what Steaua needs in order to have a chance to make up for the 8 points gap currently separating them from the Liga I leaders, their arch-rivals, Dinamo.
Not a single surprising result was recorded in midweek, when 16 teams fought for a place in the quarter finals of the Romanian Cup, a trophy ignorred in recent years especially by the Bucharest sides, although they weren’t very succesful in the league either… Still, there was some serious struggle for big clubs like Steaua, Poli Timisoara and CFR Cluj, with the single praise-worthy performance coming from Universitatea Craiova, who won on a very difficult ground, showing determination and fielding players that were enjoying their chance to play attacking football.
- FC Brasov – Universitatea Cluj 2-1 (Chipciu 5, V. Badea 86 / Lemnaru 52)
- Poli Timisoara – Vointa Sibiu (2nd division) 1-1, 4-3 on penalties (Goga 13 / Bunea 87)
- Dinamo – ALRO Slatina (2nd division) 3-1 (M. Niculae 2, Alexe 8, 30 / Barsan 38)
- Gloria Bistrita – Unirea Urziceni 1-0 (Bruno Moraes 67)
- CFR Cluj – FCM Targu Mures 2-0 (Bjelanovic 32, Sforzini 90)
- Steaua – Sportul Studentesc 1-1, 3-1 on penalties (T. Balan 19 / Latovlevici 72)
- Pandurii Targu Jiu – Universitatea Craiova 0-2 (Wobay 33, Prepelita 54)
- Astra Ploiesti – Rapid 0-0, 0-2 aet (Frunza 93, 111)
- Ceahlaul – Universitatea Craiova 2-1 (Ibrahim 75, Cebotaru 90 / M. Costea 64)
- Pandurii – Politehnica Iasi 1-1 (Stromajer 30 / Nuno Viveiros 90)
- Gaz Metan Medias – Rapid 0-0
- Steaua – Astra Ploiesti 2-0 (B. Stancu 7, Arman Karamyan 52)
- Otelul Galati – Unirea Alba Iulia 1-0 (Salageanu 37)
- FC Brasov – Gloria Bistrita 6-0 (Abrudan 49, C. Munteanu 64, Sburlea 67, V. Nastase 69 o.g., Chipciu 78, Hadnagy 81)
- CFR Cluj – FC Vaslui 0-0
- Unirea Urziceni – International Curtea de Arges 1-0 (Bilasco 77)
- Dinamo - FC Timisoara 1-2 (M. Niculae 63 / Goga 45, Cocis 49)