The “director” is Mircea Rednic, former Liga I champion with Dinamo and Rapid. The setting is in Azerbaidjan, where Rednic tries to interrupt Neftchi Baku’s supremacy with FK Khazar Lankaran, a team he took over in July 2010, signing a two seasons long deal, with the sights set on winning the title. After 19 rounds, he’s just one point behind Neftci and fully convinced that with a slightly stronger side he could deliver even at the end of his first season in charge.
In December, he returned to Romania on an active vacation, stating his interest in over a dozen players from Liga I and entering negotiations with several teams, including his former clubs. It wasn’t enough that he had already in the team four Romanian players (Iordache – 30 years old, centre back; Arbanas – 27, utility defender; Doman – 22, attacking midfielder; Stelian Stancu – 29, right midfielder) and two other players recruited from Liga I (Romanovs – 32, goalkeeper; Parks – 29, striker), he wanted more. A lot more. Slowly, he started to work on his long shortlist, checking one target after another and, at this point, with no sign that he’s satisfied, has closed deals with Dinamo, Rapid, Pandurii and Gloria Bistrita and could return to Azerbaidjan with 6 new players from Liga I. Here they are:
- Andrei Muresan - defensive midfielder, 25, bought from Gloria Bistrita, although he was also a target for Rapid Bucharest!
- Carlos Cesinha - left winger, 30, bought from Rapid, where he looked classy at times, but had became inconsistent and prone to injuries lately.
- Carlos Cardoso - left back, 25, bought from Pandurii Targu Jiu. Was also a target for Dinamo!
- Nicolae Musat - left back, 24, loaned from Dinamo, with a buying option in the summer
- Adrian Scarlatache - right back/centre back, 24, loaned from Dinamo, with a buying option in the summer
- Georgian Paun - forward, 25, loaned from Dinamo, with a buying option in the summer
If the last four will probably be utility/reliable players, Muresan and Cesinha can be considered very good deals, with the anchorman very useful in adding steel in midfield and organizing the build-up and the Brazilian an excellent forward on his day! All the deals required an investment of around one million Euros, so, if it’s true that Rednic has another half of million available, it won’t be a surprise to see others joining the colony, having the chance not just to earn more money than in Romania, but also to win some trophies…
- Gaz Metan Medias topping the standings is something even I wasn’t expecting, although I predicted a good season from this well organized team. The Brazilian Eric de Oliveira scored his 7th goal in 4 matches (a wonderful free kick) and left the field with 20 minutes to go, losing the chance to try and make it four consecutive braces in this outstanding start of season!
Another small team tipped to do well, Otelul Galati, added an important win against the newly promoted FCM Targu Mures, and Dorinel Munteanu’s keeper, Grahovac, is the only one in the league with four clean sheets. Impressive!
- Things are going very bad for Unirea Urziceni, though, who’s yet to score a goal this season, and worrying for CFR Cluj, held to a draw at home by a team that will struggle to avoid relegation this season. Good debut from the Brazilian Rafael Bastos, though, who could play an important part this season, as the missing playmaker. The problem is that Mandorlini keeps on looking for the best tactical setup & formation, which is unacceptable, in my opinion, after almost a year in charge. Read more…
- Willem II agreed to release the Brazilian Leonardo Henrique Veloso (22), who is expected to sign tomorrow his contract with CFR Cluj. Interesting enough, the left back had been rejected by Dinamo and CFR earlier this month, after he had announced his demands – a contract of 200.000 EUR/season.
- Gloria Bistrita counts on two former players in the club’s attempt to avoid relegation once again. The right back Dan Matei (28), former team captain, returns on loan from Unirea Urziceni, after two season affected by injuries and half of season spent at International Curtea de Arges, while central defensive midfielder Andrei Muresan (25) returns from Russia, where he played seven matches for Kuban Krasnodar. The club also signed the unknown Brazilian striker Aluisio Chaves Ribeiro Junior Moraes (22), raised by FC Santos, and the Portuguese Jose Rui Tavares da Veiga “Ze” (27), who spent the last couple of season in Bulgaria, at CSKA!