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…
Gloria Bistrita’s president admitted that today the two clubs agreed terms and, with the player’s father at the same table – the discussion took place just outside the pitch that hosted today one of Gloria’s friendly matches! – we can say it’s a done deal already. Metalurg will pay 1.2 million Euros, taxes included, and makes this the best ever deal done by the Romanian club, considering that, a year ago, Gloria was paying 20.000 Euros to secure the player’s services! In the meantime, the Brazilian striker produced excellent numbers, with 18 goals scored in 32 appearances, in the two halves of seasons spent in the white and blue outfit, playing for a rather mediocre team.
A complete forward, Ribeiro Moraes Junior has a nice combination of skills, being able to score with both feet, with his head, through well-placed free-kicks. He can link-up play upfront, play as a second striker or even alone upfront. Bistrita’s number 10 looked destined for a move to Steaua this winter, especially after he signed a contract with Ioan Becali, but the Bucharest side never met Gloria’s asking price, trying to bargain and losing, in the end, a very, very good player, at least by this league’s standard.
It’s an excellent deal for Metalurg, as well, nevermind the paid fee, it should generate good results on the pitch and even some profit, after one or two seasons, and it speaks about the club’s progress, considering that the last forward bought from Romania was the never outstanding Ciprian Tanasa, signed in March 2009, who has a record of 13 goals in 45 matches and turned 30 this year…
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…
According to Prosport, the Ivorian forward left CFR’s training camp and went to Spain, to undergo a medical and, unless the problems he had when he took the last test will catch the doctors’ attention, Traore is expected to seal a surprising deal, indeed.
Linked with a lot of European clubs for more than a year, he was facing another six months in Cluj, where he more than once said and showed with his behaviour that he’s not willing to stay. There was only interest from England and Italy, but the reluctance to splash at least four million Euros was understandable, given the player’s lack of maturity and need for a smaller next step. It seems that both his club and agent felt the same way and everyone agreed to take up on Kuban’s offer: 4 million Euros upfront + 1 million Euros in June + 10% of the player’s next transfer.
It’s interesting to hear that Dan Petrescu, a coach who knew Traore very well, had nothing to say in this case, according to Ioan Becali, but it makes sense, as SuperDan had been denied the signing of Iulian Apostol, a month ago, even if he was coming as a free player. Knowing Petrescu, even if we’re talking about one of Europe’s hot prospects, I’m quite sure he won’t take this situation lightly and I’m expecting a move away from Krasnodar, at the first opportunity…
The first half of season hasn’t been that bad for Dinamo, who lies just outside the places that guarantee a spot in Europa League, but the club was a mess. With less and less support from the fans, increasing financial problems, after the loss of three important shareholders, and a team that Ioan Andone was struggling to control, discipline and unite, the Red Dogs were barking, but not threatening to bite as hard as the other title challengers.
It was vital to act swiftly during the winter break and what the club did might sound suicidal, for the current season’s goals: 9 players were sent away, either on loan or for good, with the following considered regular starters and good enough, in theory, for any team in Liga I:
- Juan Pablo Garat - 27, central defender, 10 games / 1 goal, released;
- Ousmane N’Doye – 32, defensive midfielder, 13 games / 5 goals, sold to Astra Ploiesti;
- Adrian Cristea – 27, playmaker, 17 games / 7 goals, sold to Universitatea Cluj;
- Florin Bratu – 31, forward, 7 games / 2 goals (on loan to Levski), free transferred to Gaz Metan;
- Andrei Cristea – 26, forward, 11 games / 4 goals, sold to Karlsruhe;
- Marius Niculae – 29, striker, 16 games / 3 goals, loaned to Kavala (with buying option);
It only looks suicidal… First of all, because the title was an unrealistic target, given the distance that separates Dinamo from he current leaders, but mainly due to the high number and good quality of the other contenders, with Rapid, Poli Timisoara and FC Vaslui convinced that this is their season. Secondly, in spite of the names and the stats from above, the red and white outfit can still count on some of the finest attacking prospects in Romania, with the likes of Gabriel Torje, Marius Alexe and Liviu Ganea relishing the chance to feature on a regular basis and support the excellent player and professional that is Ionel Danciulescu. There will also be some relief among those responsible in delivering the wages, as the budget will suffer a serious cut and probably allow the entire team to start getting paid on time, on a regular basis.
The only thing Dinamo must do now is to use this month as a foundation for a strategy that has always delivered and keep on betting on young, ambitious players. But, with so much time left before the end of the winter mercato, the recent signing of a 31 years old from the bottom-placed team and the club’s willingness to test unknown foreign players, who are closer to their 30′ than their 20′s, we might be only witnessing Dinamo’s desperation to get rid of the high-earners and intention to buy some more time to prepare another one or two important sales…
Winter mercato in Romania: the Bucharest clubs release high earners, those from Cluj have money to spend
The huge financial problems from Liga I have made most of the clubs look & act normal this winter, not only in their refusal to enter bidding contests and pay high transfer fees, but also in their reluctance to bring in a high number of players during this mercato window. The main concern is getting the wage budgets under control and mainly the Bucharest clubs are releasing some top players without a second thought. Steaua already parted ways with the Bulgarian utility man Angelov, who was earning 250.000 Euros/season, and is looking to offload a prolific front man like Kapetanos (who had a ratio of a goal scored every two games and also featured in the World Cup, last summer!) for the same reason. Dinamo cleared an important debt with former shareholder Florian Walter (now the owner of Universitatea Cluj) by sending there probably the most talented attacking midfielder in Liga I, Adrian Cristea, with other big names like Florin Bratu and Ousmane N’Doye already out the door. Rapid’s board looks more experienced and balanced, though, considering it’s still early to release the un-wanted players, a strategy that could produce some results in the coming weeks.
A different situation can be seen in Cluj, where CFR and Universitatea have played a mercato derby, signing a few players each, in attempts not really to save their current campaigns, but more to build for the future. The champions have a long list of players that will not travel for the team’s training camps and have been instructed to find new clubs and the names are impressive: the former Rosenborg striker Yssouf Kone, by far the highest earner in Liga I, the right back Tony, who really helped the club win its’ last seven trophies, plus Alcantara, Sforzini, Peskovic and Anselmo Ramon. They didn’t waste any time and already secured the right flank with the experienced Maftei, from Unirea Urziceni, but also bought the in-form Nicoara, from newly promoted Victoria Branesti, a 23 years old left sided midfielder. Their other two signings are rather strange though, as Homei (23, right back) and Minca (26, goalkeeper) still need to prove themselves, in spite of a quite long time spent at this level…
It was nice to see Universitatea continue its’ ambitious project (there’s also a new stadium, Cluj Arena, under construction in Cluj) and the team looks stronger in almost every compartment: former NT keeper Marius Popa has signed from Pandurii, while Aburdan (Steaua) and Cristea (Dinamo) add quality and experience in defense and midfield, being the type of players that you’d expect to see playing for top six teams, not move to one currently placed just above relegation zone.
Still, in spite of a few clubs moving on the market, the fact that top targets like Wesley (FC Vaslui), Eric de Oliveira (Gaz Metan), Ribeiro Moraes (Gloria Bistrita), Cornel Rapa (Otelul Galati) or Gabriel Matei (Pandurii) are considered too expensive at the moment should do well to an always inflated market. Not long ago 50% of Torje (Dinamo) or Tanase (Steaua) was bought for millions, an approach that could have lead to losses even if the players had moved to better leagues from abroad, not better clubs from Romania, a country full of teams lead by excellent managers. Experts in buying high and selling low…
When Astra Ploiesti announced the transfer of three players from last season’s runner-up, Unirea Urziceni, it all looked very strange, especially with a certain George Galamaz (team captain, national team player) among them. A week later, the deal that had been announced even on Astra’s official website was off: Gigi Becali, Steaua’s owner, who had to receive around 4 million Euros from Dumitru Bucsaru, discussed a deal that makes the Bucharest club extremely well-equipped for a title race that looks less demanding than in the past three seasons. Six players will move to Ghencea: George Galamaz (central defender), Ricardo Gomes (central midfielder), Iulian Apostol (central midfielder), Laurentiu Marinescu (attacking midfielder), Marius Onofras (forward), Marius Bilasco (centre forward). Number seven is still in talks with Steaua, but is definitely worth waiting for: Pablo Brandan, the Argentinian left back who was so close to VFB Stuttgart last winter and waited in vain for an offer from abroad, which, surprisingly, didn’t arrive. This extraordinary move on the transfer market comes as a blow for Steaua’s rivals, who had already enough problems on their own, but brings good news especially for Universitatea Craiova, where Victor Piturca gets an unexpected gift: some of the players brought by him to Ghencea this summer are available either for free (Todorov) or for low fees (Dorel Stoica – 100.000 Euros).
After the loan of Rodolfo Bodipo, from Deportivo La Coruna, FC Vaslui signs for one season (with the option to extend the deal for one more year) the former captain of Betis Seville, David Rivas. The 31 years old comes on a free transfer and says that he came to Romania to win the title and play Champions League football, adding more quality and experience to an already solid roster, trained by the former Real Madrid coach Lopez Caro.
According to the club’s owner, Rivas was signed only to please the coach and his arrival should determine the sale or loan of one of the others central defenders in the squad. My bet is that either the very promising Paul Papp will be allowed to move on loan, in order to keep playing on a regular basis, although he comes after a solid half of season with the team, or the experienced Gabriel Canu will be allowed to leave at a decent price. All the other centre-backs have the advantage of being versatile enough to cover at least one other role (Gladstone – central defensive midfielder, Zubar – right back, Farkas – left back) and it’s probably too late for them to be offered to clubs from abroad.
A rumor for almost a month, Angelov’s transfer to Steaua has become reality. The Bulgarian utility player will get 120.000 Euros in the coming season and the club has the option to extend the deal for one more season. Stanislav Angelov is Steaua’s 12th transfer of the summer, comes as a free player, after three years spent in Germany, with Energie Cottbus, and can play either as a full back (no matter the side) or as a central defensive midfielder.
Although he enjoys playing as an anchorman, he will find it very hard to play ahead of Dorel Stoica, Piturca’s favorite player and first transfer of the summer. On the right side, he will fight with another Bulgarian, Yordan Todorov, while on the left there’s the promising Romanian left back, Iasmin Latovlevici (recently bought from FC Timisoara, signed a five years long deal) and the Nigerian Ifeanyi Emeghara.