Romania’s defense held out in Athens against Greece, with Gabriel Tamas at right back, a desperate, yet effective solution. Normally, we should have seen there Alexandru Matel, the 24 years old who featured in both play-off games against Greece last November, when Romania missed out on a place at the World Cup, who went on to finish another solid season with Astra Giurgiu, winning the Romanian Cup and finishing the league in second place.
Don’t look him up in Astra’s team that managed to take out Slovan Liberec and OL on its way to the Europa League group stage! You won’t find him in the starting line-ups, not even on the bench. You can find him in exile though, training on his own, twice a day, on the pitch of Astra’s abandoned stadium from Ploiesti. He’ll be there until next summer, waiting for the last year of his contract to run out, watching international games go by at a perfect age to play and impress.
He’s 24, fully fit, but after just over 100 games for Astra, still naive enough to think that Ioan Niculae, a rich guy who likes to own business and people, would have said: “well, it’s no problem if you don’t want to renew your deal, my team can still do with the best Romanian right back for another year!”. Well, the problem with most of the wealthy guys is that they rarely regard somebody else indispensable, valuable or at least worthy of respect. Other than themselves, that is…
Well, enough bad things about the owner. With all his faults, according to his version of events, he did meet the exact terms requested by Matel’s agent for a contract extension this summer. A scenario Matel didn’t feel the need to deny, which might just make it real. He prefers to pose as the victim, but it would have been a more convincing picture if he didn’t negotiate for a new deal in the first place. And Niculae, as any other rich guy out there, has the cash to surprise you. Usually, in a positive way. At times, in ways you and your agent might dislike. Because in a story that affects not only Matel, but more people and teams, there’s more than just one bad guy involved this time around…
Rapid’s success in finalizing the Gauracs deal could open the road for the club’s surpise from the first half of season, Alexandru Ionita (20), to FC Koln. The interest for the talented centre forward became public yesterday, when the Bucharest side received an offer of 1.000.000, 1.500.000, 2.000.000 EUR and, at that time, in spite of the serious financial struggle of the club, the boss George Copos still claimed that the player wasn’t for sale.
Today, there’s a different story, as the Bundesliga outfit demanded for an answer asap, with FIFA agent Traian Gherghisan asking for a serious wage rise for the striker, in case of a negative response. And, having in Gauracs (21) a rather similar player (age, style of play, potential), it would be insane to turn down an offer that might not come along again…
The press announces today that FC Koln’s offer was raised to 2,5 mil. EUR and that the 1.Bundesliga club finally convinced Rapid’s owner to accept the deal by allowing the player to stay at the Bucharest side until the end of the season.
- Claudinei Alexandre Aparecido Nei (29) looks set to join newly promoted Unirea Alba Iulia, on a loan deal, until the end of the season. The Brazilian forward never looked good enough for CFR or any other team fighting for the title and, in case the deal will be finalized, he’ll meet in Alba Iulia three former colleagues from Cluj, Rade Veljovic (24, striker), Andres Felipe de Souza Galiassi (29, central defender), Vitinha (23, left back), who are also on loan, until the summer. Nei played a lot in the first half of the seasons, but scored only two goals in fourteen appearances in the league.
- Apparently George Copos, the owner of Rapid Bucharest, refused a tempting offer for the promising centre forward Alexandru Ionita (20). Promoted from the youth squad at the beginning of the season, Ionita scored 6 goals in the league already and also collected three call-ups to the U21 national team. The offer was higher than 1 mil. EUR and arrived at the club through FIFA agent Traian Gherghisan. According to the press, Ionita earns only 2.000 EUR / month, while the decision of Copos is rather strange, given his recent financial struggles and the desire to sell the club.
- With Rui Duarte (29) still just a transfer target and while waiting for Polish international Pawel Golanski to extend the contract that is running out in the summer, Steaua is also looking at the possibility to get back George Ogararu (29), from Ajax Amsterdam. Already transfer listed by the Dutch club, Ogararu refused a move to Roda and says that he won’t have a problem in convincing the club to release him on a free transfer, as he’s currently still getting 700.000 EUR / season.
- A target for both Steaua Bucharest and FC Vaslui, Edwin Ouon (29) has very slim chances to come and play in Romania this year. The defender’s agent, David Lasaracina, admitted that FC Vaslui’s president, Adrian Porumboiu, was a man of honor and had presented an official offer like the one discussed over the phone (a transfer fee of 700.000 EUR), but the player wanted Steaua instead. Here, the negotiation reached a dead point when Steaua offered 200.000 upfront to AEL Limassol, plus an extra 600.000 EUR in the summer, in case the Bucharest side will go on and win the title, and started to curse everyone in the room when he realized that he cannot find an agreement.
- FC Timisoara’s owner Marian Iancu announced the end of negotiations with the Armenian twins, Arman and Artavazd Karamyan, whose contracts will expire in the summer. And, unlilke other clubs, Timisoara won’t send the pair to the club’s reserve team until then as punishment for not signing an extension, instead, offered them the chance to find a mutual agreement with the club to cease the current deals right now and look for another team. It’s a nice approach, that repays both players. Artavazd played 92 matches for Timisoara, scoring 10 goals and often wearing the team’s armband, while his brother Arman collected 50 matches in the Viola shirt and scored 16 goals.
- FIFA agent Florin Manea has been promised a 100.000 EUR bonus in case Rapid Bucharest wins the title, to repay the work done in this mercato period without any comissions. Florin Manea is the son of current Rapid coach Nicolae Manea and helped the club negotiate with the likes of Edgars Gauracs from Ventspils and Ilie Iordache, from AEK Athens.
- Dinamo Bucharest is trying to convince Ousmane N’Doye (31) to extend the current deal, which should expire in the summer. The strong left footed midfielder left a solid impression in Romania both at FC Vaslui and Dinamo and looks to be better than most of his opponents even without trying too hard on the pitch. It seems that the Senegalese has already been contacted by Neuchatel Xamax and that Dinamo is facing a real struggle to keep hold of the player.
- Cristian Daminuta (19) is trying to take back previous statements released in the Romanian press, which have angered Inter Milano’s officials. Now training with Dinamo Bucharest, Daminuta was quoted saying that he never wants to return to Inter, but now he says that he was only angry about the unfair balance in the press between his agitated nightlife and good performances for the Primavera squad. Of course, he added that it would be a dream come true to play for Inter (probably thinking about the expiring date of his contract, which is June 2013, and the chance of a looong suspension). Although he made his debut in the Romanian first division when he was only sixteen, the defensive midfielder / central defender played only five games as a senior so far – two for Timisoara and three for Modena, in Serie B, where he was loaned by Inter.
- Dayro Moreno (24) seems destined to continue playing in Romania, where he recently said that he will refuse to return. He did return, last night, and it seems that the negotiation with FC Timisoara will go very smoothly. The Viola club has already an agreement with Steaua over the transfer fee (450.000 EUR plus taxes), while the Colombian attacking midfielder will have the chance to earn 12.000 EUR per month, 7.000 EUR more than he was getting paid at Steaua, after he suffered an important wage cut earlier this season.
- Cristian Fabbiani (26) will have to find quickly another club or he will have to return against his will in Romania, in order to respect his current deal with CFR Cluj. Not that he’s wanted there, but the player’s agent Luciano Duthu knows it’s the only way his client will get paid and, at the same time, won’t risk a suspension. And he will get paid well!, because El Ogro earns at CFR 350.000 EUR/season, a deal signed in 2007 and justified only in the first season, when the centre-forward scored 11 goals in 28 matches. Overweight and attitude problems forced two consecutive loan deals, to Newell’s Old Boys (5 goals in 15 matches) and River Plate (2 goals in 25 macthes), and without having them solved in the meantime, the Argentinian has no future at CFR Cluj.
Although Steaua’s attacking midfielder Dayro Moreno recently stated that he refuses to return to Romania and hoped for a move back to Once Caldas, it seems that the Colombian club cannot afford the only terms accepted by the Bucharest side.
So Moreno might change his mind once he’ll find out that FC Tumisoara, another title contender, is ready to pay 550.000 EUR for him. The Viola outfit has asked FIFA agent Daniel Stanciu to get in touch with the player’s agent and present the huge salary 180.000 EUR per season (at Steaua his wages had been cut to 60.000 EUR).
A contract will be signed though only after Moreno will discuss face to face with coach Ioan Ovidiu Sabau, who will have to be convinced that the Colombian talent can and is willing to change his atitude.
The coach from Astra Ploiesti has five new players under observation:
- Diego Silva – forward, 22 years old, plays for River Plate in Uruguay
- Alvaro Dario Alonso – full back, 28 years old, plays for Rampla Juniors in Uruguay
- Luis Angel Vildozo – forward, 28 years old, plays for Union San Felipe in Chile
- Marcelo Fabian Mendez Russo – central defender, 28 years old, plays for Montevideo Wanderers in Uruguay
- Jimmy Nicolas Schmidt Vallejo – goalkeeper, 28 years old, plays for Central Espanol in Uruguay
The players have been brough by FIFA agent Marcel Popescu and the Montearreo agency.
Newly promoted Astra Ploiesti lies in 12th place in the league and has under contract 6 other foreign players: Radek Oprsal (central defender from Czech Republic, 31 years old), Abel Valdez (central defender from Argentina, 21 years old), Seto Takayuki (central midfielder from Japan, 24 years old), Paulo Dinarte Gouveia Pestana “Paulinho” (attacking midfielder from Portugal, 24 years old), Kevin Hatchi (central midfielder from France, 28 years old) and Dusan Djokic (striker from Serbia, 29 years old – on loan from Club Brugge)