Linked with clubs like Newcastle, Eintracht Frankfurt or Brescia, all summer long, Dinamo’s top scorer from last season is very close to a move to 2. Bundesliga. According to the Romanian media – with the reports confirmed with discretion by the player himself -, Karlsruhe offered around 400.000 Euros for a one year loan, having the option to make the deal permanent for one million Euros next summer, and the Red Dogs have every reason to accept such a bid:
- The veteran Ionel Danciulescu returned from Spain, Marius Niculae is the team’s captain, while the young talented Alexe, Torje and Liviu Ganea need to have maximum of exposure this season, hoping that the high-scoring games will get them on the score-sheet often enough to get the much craved attention from abroad.
- Cristea comes after his best season in Liga I in terms of efficiency, having scored 16 goals in 27 appearances, and it’s unlikely to repeat such a feat.
- He’s not the most popular player in the squad, since he realized close to the end of last season that he needs to think about himself rather than the team, working hard to end the previous campaign as the league’s top scorer. His attitude didn’t change during the summer break and he was involved in an incident two rounds ago, when he insisted to take a penalty, even though the team’s specialist, N’Doye was on the pitch. Read more…
As my friends from Twitter (rbaicu) already heard, Ionel Danciulescu signed a two years long deal with Dinamo, after a surprising release from Hercules. “Danciu-goal” refused a very tempting offer from the newly promoted club FCM Targu Mures, who offered a fabulous 250.000 Euros per year plus 70.000 Euros upfront, hoping to catch one more European adventure with the Red Dogs, before ending an oustanding career in Liga I.
With him in the squad, Dinamo has to options: either loan once again one of their young forwards, Liviu Ganea or Georgian Paun (this one has the biggest chances), or sell one of the big names: Andrei Cristea or Marius Niculae. With Cristea too expensive at 1,5 million Euros for interested clubs, like Newcastle or Brescia, Dinamo could be tempted to accept Karabukspor’s 500.000 Euros for Niculae, who is also one of the highest earners at the Bucharest side and has been looking for his best form for the past year, without any luck.
- Universitatea Craiova received an approach from Hamburger SV for promising keeper Silviu Lung Jr. Apparently, the 1. Bundesliga club was hoping to land a deal in the region of 2 million Euros, but talks stopped after Adrian Mititelu expressed his desire to start negotiating a deal from 4 million Euros. The kid is good, but not that good. At least not yet…
- Although recent press reports spoke of Dinamo’s willingness to cut down the asking price for last season’s top scorer Andrei Cristea, it seems that the Bucharest side didn’t rush the player to the nearest airport when Newcastle United offered one and a half million Euros. A written offer is expected and, in the meantime, the press will try to decide which of these two Turkish clubs are interested in Marius Niculae: Bursaspor or Manisaspor. Niculae was simply too poor last season to determine a race for his signature this summer…
ANDREI CRISTEA– Dinamo Bucharest
- WESLEY LOPES DA SILVA – FC Vaslui
- Pantelis Kapetanos – Steaua Bucharest
- Gheorghe Bucur – FC Timisoara
- Junior Moraes – Gloria Bistrita
My view: Wesley couldn’t have missed this one, he had a solid season and deserves credit for acting very mature during a winter conflict with the club’s owner, which ended in his favor. Cristea was THE Romanian forward, that’s for sure, although I’m sure he’d be useless without a good centre forward alongside him. Obviously, he doesn’t think so, as he became blinded by the opportunity to snatch the golden boot award and looked very selfish and ugly in the last couple of months, an approach that will turn against him next season, if he doesn’t leave Dinamo.
Leaving aside Kapetanos, the only striker who needs to concentrate on his World Cup performances, it’s interesting to see up there two strikers that have played for just half of season, Bucur leaving Timisoara for Krasnodar during the winter, while Moraes came to Bistrita in February, but made an instant and huge impact. Just outside the top five is Urziceni’s Bilasco, a player with an excellent aerial game for his 1,84 m, while CFR’s “stars”, Kone and Traore are waaay down, very close to the ratings received by Pandurii’s strikers, Raskovic and Stromajer, famous for their lack of ability and flair.
My choices: I liked a lot Moraes, as well, but I think CFR’s Bud deserves to be recalled for the way he stepped up and delivered. Dinamo’s Liviu Ganea had a nice run with Astra, where he spent the season on loan, but he ruined all his work with his decision to “shut down” and “preserve” his goals for a better cause than saving Astra from relegation. I have serious doubts regarding his mentality and I think that the gifts he has were delievered by nature to the wrong type of person. Timisoara has a really quality player in Dorin Goga, who’s creative and skilful, but the player and the team would have got so much more out of this season, if Magera was used up-front on a regular basis. In the end, I’ll add Rusescu, a youngster I enjoy watching for three seasons now, but who I’d expected to see get more and more time on the pitch…
Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.
They say that a striker’s job is to score goals and I’m blaming Dinamo’s hard-working Cristea, Andrei, (the lazy one is Adrian) for taking his job too seriously? No, he deserves to be up there, battling with Kapetanos, another honest player and good professional, but the way he wants to become Romania’s top scorer at all costs reminds me of the days when Steaua or Dinamo were fixing matches just to offer one of their players the chance to shine in Europe…
Cristea scored a brace against Unirea Alba Iulia, after yet another waaay too selfish display (I’ve seen a dozen since media reports spoke about the player’s chances to move to Serie A, in the summer), and the two goals get him ahead of Kapetanos, ending, in my opinion, what has been an interesting and correct race for most of the season.
Yes, there are still two rounds to go, but we must consider that in the next round Dinamo meets its unofficial satellite club, Astra Ploiesti, (if required, Cristea could score at will) and that the Greek will miss the last game of the season, as he will join the national team for the first training camp, before the World Cup. So, congrats to Cristea for the title and good luck to Dinamo, I’m sure they’ll be able to get a few more hundred thousands Euro from the club that will eventually sign the player… Read more…
- International Curtea de Arges – Ceahlaul 2-0 (Apostu 15, 81)
- Astra Ploiesti – Otelul Galati 0-3 (Giurgiu 45, Costin 60, Antal 87)
- Unirea Alba Iulia – Dinamo 1-2 (Fl. Dan 28 / Andrei Cristea 45 pen, 69)
- Universitatea Craiova – CFR Cluj 2-3 (Piturca 12, M. Costea 21 / Traore 63, Bud 85, Cadu 90 pen)
- FC Timisoara – Gaz Metan Medias 0-2 (Eric 33, 83)
- FC Vaslui – Steaua 2-1 (Burdujan 68, Papp 82 / B. Stancu 45)
- Rapid – Pandurii Targu Jiu 1-0 (Sapunaru 86)
- Politehnica Iasi – FC Brasov 0-0
- Gloria Bistrita – Unirea Urziceni 0-0
Next round (15-17 of May): Gaz Metan Medias – Unirea Alba Iulia, CFR Cluj – International Curtea de Arges, Gloria Bistrita – Politehnica Iasi, Otelul Galati – FC Vaslui, Unirea Urziceni – Ceahlaul, Steaua – Universitatea Craiova, FC Brasov – Rapid, Pandurii – FC Timisoara, Dinamo – Astra Ploiesti.
- Unirea Alba Iulia – Ceahlaul 3-2 (N. Jovanovic 27, 90, Fl. Dan 44 / I. Badescu 35, Cebotaru 53)
- Astra Ploiesti – International 1-1 (Carando 81 / Apostu 28)
- Unirea Urziceni – Pandurii Targu Jiu 3-0 (Apostol 25, Marinescu 39, Martinovic 78 og)
- Gloria Bistrita – Dinamo 3-2 (Ribeiro Moraes 23, 88, Nastase 45 / Cl. Niculescu 12, Andrei Cristea 32)
- Politehnica Iasi – Otelul Galati 1-1 (Badea 52 / Ochirosii 30)
- Rapid – Steaua 5-1 (Ionita 7, 17, Cesinha 22, M. Constantin 33 pen, Helder 73 / Kapetanos 14 pen)
- FC Brasov – Gaz Metan Medias 3-2 (N. Grigore 11 pen, Sburlea 39, Hadnagy 49 / A. Munteanu 57, Litu 77)
- FC Vaslui – Universitatea Craiova 0-1 (Al. Piturca 71)
- FC Timisoara – CFR Cluj 1-1 (Alexa 90+8 / Deac 56)
Next round (23-26 April): Ceahlaul – Astra Ploiesti, Dinamo – Politehnica Iasi, Pandurii – FC Brasov, Otelul Galati – Rapid, CFR Cluj – Unirea Alba Iulia, Gaz Metan Medias – Gloria Bistrita, Universitatea Craiova – Unirea Urziceni, Steaua – FC Timisoara, International Curtea de Arges – FC Vaslui.
- FC Brasov – International Curtea de Arges 1-2 (Zaharia 11 / E. Kone 29, Bacila 81)
Fantastic victory for International, the first under Ionut Badea, “transferred” during the winter break from the relegated FC Arges, who are undefeated for three matches and starting to hope again in their chances of survival. Excellent game from the talented wide midfielder Emmanuel Kone (23), who’s a natural right winger, but capped a solid performance on the left side with a deserved secod goal of the season. Kone is currently on loan from CFR Cluj and, surprisingly, CFR misses at this point a wide midfielder on the right of his quality. Surprisingly, the Ivorian’s athleticism was perfect on a pitch covered in snow, a sign that he has fully adjusted to the rather difficult playing conditions from Romania. Brasov is really struggling this year and basically lost any chance to catch a European spot, which is a pitty, thinking of the good displays from the first half of season.
- Pandurii Targu Jiu – Ceahlaul 0-0
This is the third consecutive draw for Filipovic and, although a valuable one, against another team in a difficult situation, Ceahlaul will struggle to produce the needed wins, with such a defensive attitude. The hosts showed once again their limits in attack and this was the last match with Liviu Ciobotariu on the bench, who was immediately replaced by former Pandurii coach Sorin Cartu, also known as “Sorinaccio” for his defensive style, which brought the best out of this ugly team in the past. A second good performance from keeper Razvan Stanca, who was outstanding in the previous round, away at International, producing several saves, including a penalty kick. Read more…
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).