Bought for half of million Euros in the summer of 2007, Robinson Zapata was one of the Steaua’s rare succesful buys from abroad. He signed a four years long deal and had no problems in keeping his place in goal, as long as the selection was correct. The signing of the promising Ciprian Tatarusanu for 1,5 million Euros complicated things, though, and Gigi Becali’s pressure on the always obedient coaches paid off, with Tatarusanu taking over from the Colombian goalie and keeping his place in the team even when his performances looked below-par. Named the best keeper in Liga I at the end of the 2008-2009 season, as well as after the first half of the 2009-2010, “Rufay” had to make way for Tatarusanu and finished a terrible 2010 training and playing with Steaua’s reserve team, in the Romanian second division. He was relieved to be released on a free transfer in December, with six months to go on the current deal, and Galata’s interest is a deserved sign of appreciation for an experienced goalie, with a fantastic ability to adjust to new environments far from home & to compete under pressure. Not to mention that a completed deal, which could become reality in a matter of days, as Rufay is expected for a medical in Istanbul, would put Steaua’s management in a bad light once again. But that’s not news or a big surprise anymore…
Recommended by Galata’s Ivorian forward Abdul Kader Keita, Traore has already confirmed that he’d be interested in a move to the Turkish giants, who are collecting as much information as possible on probably the foreign player with the biggest potential that has played in Romania so far.
“I’m ready to listen to offers from them and I’m looking forward to what will happen at the end of the season”, said Traore in the Turkish press. Former Galata superstar and Romanian living legend Gheorghe Hagi has been asked by the Turks to convince CFR’s board to show understanding and flexibility, preparing the ground for the first talks about the player’s price, which could easily rise above the 4 million Euros estimated before the second half of season, given the increased competition between strong clubs like Galata, Napoli and even Arsenal.
Also, former Steaua fitness coach, Yuksel Yesilova, who knows really well the Romanian league, has made a player profile that should get him at least 5% of the player’s salary once he reaches Ali Sami Yen ;-): “Although he’s very young, he shows composure and maturity on the pitch. He’s a gifted two footed player, very strong in the air. Powerful, with good stamina, looks a lot like Hakan Sukur in his early days, could make a deadly partnership with Milan Baros. Definitely one of the best players in the league, with a very bright future ahead of him.”
I’m not saying that this ain’t true, but I’d be a little reserved when it comes to maturity and composure, especially after seeing all three games played this year. All of them showed a talented footballer who is focused on one thing, a selfish player ready to sacrifice the team’s interest in order to reach a personal goal. Right now, he has two choices: regain the atitude that generated all this hype or continue to play on his own, hoping that CFR will decide to take up on the first concrete offer that will come along, the sooner- the better.
If he goes on like this, he will probably have the same faith as Dubarbier, once rated at 10 million Euros (ok, CFR would have probably received 7 or 8 at that time), sold a year too late, for less than 2 million. Because CFR will ask for a higher price after each similar media storm regarding interest from abroad, while the player’s performances would advice a safer and less expensive approach from the clubs willing to transfer him.