“I said no to a written offer of 6 million Euros”, said a cocky Gigi Becali a week ago, so you can imagine the prices he’ll dream of and offer to the Romanian media now that Vlad Chiriches, the 22 years old centre-back, appeared on Milan’s radar. But even Becali’s fantasies shouldn’t be a problem if the Italians will be looking for Thiago Silva’s replacement, considering the huge transfer fee paid by PSG for the
unavailable Brazilian. The question is: can Chiriches step in and do the job of one of the finest central defenders in the world?
Let’s have a look at the stats: he’s got 68 appearances in Liga I – not the most challenging in Europe – and only 29 of them for a club that challenged for the title (and lost). To compare, Udinese’s Gabriel Torje had collected 125 matches in the top flight by the age of 21, before moving to Serie A (and failing to impress in the first season). Ignored most of the time by Romania’s youth national teams, he had recently earned his place in the senior team, collecting 6 caps under two different coaches. Ok, he’ll be playing there for many years to come, but apart from these matches he can only add to his international experience 2 other games played with Steaua in the Europa League.
Now let’s have a look at the player. If his name came up in Milan’s search for Silva’s replacement, it’s because he’s got a good age and is the type of ball-playing centre-back that can solve difficult situations with elegance and also start the build-up from the back.
And he’s from Romania and he shouldn’t be that expensive. The truth is, Chiriches has a technical skill that’s beyond doubt and has determined different coaches to use him with confidence both as right back and defensive midfielder, but his place is at the heart of the back four. He’s mature and assured and has impressed with his response to the biggest challenges of his short, but promising career, enjoying the big matches and displaying an impressive confidence against stronger and better opponents. In my opinion, he still needs to gain in strength and he can have problems against very quick strikers in the first five meters, but usually his positioning sense and ability to read the game avoid embarrassing situations. He’ll use both feet, which is a big plus, and is good, but not perfect in the air, and might also have a fight on his hands while playing against a big fellow, that’s why the intense work in the gym is a must, in order to become a more commanding figure at the back.
Now that I’ve offered a positive response to the question from the title, we can only ask ourselves if a Romanian version is enough for Milan and what’s the latest figure in Becali’s mind: 10, 15 million Euros? It’s also interesting to note that Cosmin Contra recommended Chiriches to Getafe recently. Contra who played for Milan as well…
Yes, Ioan Viorel Ganea, the former Stuttgart & Wolves striker, who also played for Dinamo, Rapid and Politehnica Timisoara, has decided to move up one division and sign for Sanatatea Cluj. This is the club’s first major signing ahead of the Romanian Cup game versus Steaua Bucharest, as “The Green Viruses” (Sanatatea translates into “health”) launched a similar invitation to other big names, with Cosmin Contra, the former AC Milan and Atletico Madrid right back, expected to offer an answer today, once he returns to Romania.
At 38, Ganea has decided to make an attempt to kick out Steaua from this competition on Thursday evening and will decide afterwards if he’ll keep playing for the club that has offered him a monthly wage of, sit down before you read this, less than 50 euros. With 17 goals scored for the national team and 130 for the clubs he has played for, the veteran striker would like to add another one that he’ll remember for years…
It has become official: the two players tested during the last break caused by the Euro 2012 qualifiers have signed for one of the most in-form teams in Liga I, Poli Timisoara.
Jiri Krejci is a 24 years old central defender, who came after a short and unsuccessful spell in Greece, with Iraklis, while the Brazilian Carlos Rafael Rocha is a 21 years old left sided player, at his first attempt to impress in Europe. If Krejci will have to fight for his place in the squad, as Poli can rely on the experienced duo Burca-Cisovsky and has also involved as much as possible the promising Luchin and Mera in the past couple of season, Rafael is a much needed backup for Timisoara’s only natural left back, Laszlo Sepsi.
Interesting fact: Rafael was recommended by Poli’s Brazilian wing-back Helder, who is playing on loan from Nancy and has impressed with his outstanding pace and appetite for attacking football, and Timisoara’s coach Cosmin Contra says he was convinced by the left back’s skill, pace and ability to read the game.
It’s a strange and delicate moment for a player with an impressive career close to the end, as Cosmin Contra, the former AC Milan and Atletico Madrid full-back, who also played an UEFA Cup final with Getafe, could be out of contract starting the first day of September. FC Timisoara, his beloved team, the club that tried so much to convince him to return to Romania, didn’t even try to have a conversation with the player on this subject. The story became public right before the second game against Manchester City, when Contra had announced that the derby versus Steaua could be his last official appearance. I guess he wasn’t expecting then to come on in the second half, score a wonderful equalizer and get a call up to the national team… Well, with or without a contract at club level, Contra has every chance to add two more caps to the 72 collected so far, as he’s been asked to replace the injured Cristian Sapunaru and should fight for a place at right back with Ovidiu Dananae.
Romania’s squad for the double against Albania (home) and Republic of Belarus (away): Read more…
- Ceahlaul – Astra Ploiesti 0-0
- Dinamo – Politehnica Iasi 1-1 (N’Doye 21 / L. Munteanu 59)
- Pandurii – FC Brasov 1-0 (Hidisan 77)
- Otelul Galati – Rapid 0-0
- CFR Cluj – Unirea Alba Iulia 3-2 (Bud 21, 65, 90 / Veljovic 67, Muresan 77 og)
- Gaz Metan Medias – Gloria Bistrita 1-1 (Litu 42 / Frasinescu 2)
- Universitatea Craiova – Unirea Urziceni 1-4 (Gangioveanu 75 / Bilasco 8, Rusescu 70, Paduretu 81, Semedo 88)
- Steaua – FC Timisoara 3-3 (Golanski 33, Kapetanos 80 pen, Zhelev 90 / Cocis 48, Contra 85 pen, 88)
- International Curtea de Arges – FC Vaslui 1-2 (Bacila 45 / Costly 70, Milisavljevic 80)
Next round (30th of April – 2nd of May): Gloria Bistrita – Pandurii, Astra – CFR Cluj, Universitatea Craiova – International Curtea de Arges, Unirea Alba Iulia – Steaua, FC Timisoara – Otelul Galati, FC Vaslui – Ceahlaul, Politehnica Iasi – Gaz Metan Medias, Unirea Urziceni – FC Brasov, Rapid – Dinamo.
- Cosmin Contra (34) confirmed the deal with FC Timisoara. The veteran full back has found an agreement with Getafe’s president and will be allowed to move to Timisoara as a free player. Contra will sign until the summer and is hoping to help the club win the league. Born in Timisoara, Contra has only played for half of season for the Viola outfit, collecting 14 appearances, back in 2005.
- Universitatea Craiova made a bold move and completed the buy of star forward Florin Costea (24), from CSM Ramnicu Valcea. Although Costea (who’s also regarded as a solution for the national team – and might find even more space, in case Mutu won’t find a miraculous solution and avoid suspension) plays for Craiova since 2006, 25% of his transfer rights were still belonging to the second division club. And Craiova decided to pay 500.000 EUR in exchange, a lot of money, even though Costea was reportedly a target for big clubs from abroad, ready to meet an asking price of 4-5 mil. EUR! Knowing the player and that 75% of the rumors published this winter were rubbish, my bet is that he won’t leave Craiova for a higher price than 1.5 mil. EUR, if he’ll ever make a move abroad at all!
- Unirea Alba Iulia signed Argentinian midfielder Enzo Bruno (22). The former Independiente player came as a free agent and signed a contract until the end of the season.
- The Argentinian young striker Danilo Ezequiel Carando (20) agreed to sign a contract with Astra Ploiesti until June 2012. The forward joins a list of players bought by Astra from South America this winter: Deigo Silva (22, striker, from River Plate, in Uruguay), Maximilian Arias (21, midfielder, from Fenix, in Uruguay), Gonzalo Salgueiro (23, goalkeeper, born in Uruguay, comes from Kalamata, Greece), Alejandro Kruchowski (27, full back, born in Argentina) and Marcelo Fabian Mendez Russo (28, central defender, from Montevideo Wanderers, in Uruguay). All the players have been recommended and assisted by Diego Solivaret.
- The Dayro Moreno case took a new turn, as the player looks very determined to leave Romania. In the time spent here, he tried to convince Steaua’s board to accept a bid from Once Caldas, although the Bucharest side had already shook hands with FC Timisoara. Moreno held talks with Timisoara, but surprised everyone with his demands. Knowing what the club is ready to offer (around 200.000 EUR / season), the attacking midfielder asked 300.000 EUR / season, while at Steaua he was getting only 60.000 EUR / season. His strategy angered Timisoara’s president Marian Iancu, who decided to withdraw from any negotation and Moreno returned to Colombia, where he could get good news (Steaua accepts an inferior offer from Once Caldas) or a bad news (Steaua suspends the player for the reminder of his contract).
- The veteran defender Cosmin Contra (34) is looking forward to a return to his beloved club FC Timisoara. Only a reserve player at Getafe in the first half of season, Contra is tempted by a return home given Timisoara’s chances of winning the title. This won’t be a premiere for the expert right back, as he did it once before, when he was an Atletico Madrid player, back in 2005.
- Steaua has not given up on two of its targets and the club is pushing hard for a deal with AEL Limassol regarding central defender Edwin Ouon (29), desperately wanted by coach Mihai Stoichita, after the red and blue outfit parted ways with Ionut Rada and skipper Sorin Ghionea. Steaua raised its offer from 300.000 EUR to 700.000 EUR. The same transfer fee could be paid also for FC Brasov’s right back, Rui Duarte (29). The Portuguese is probably the best player in the league on this position and is currently in a middle of a scandal with his club, having refused to return to Romania and start training for two weeks now.