PABLO BRANDAN– Unirea Urziceni
- Vladimir Bozovic – Rapid Bucharest
- Laszlo Sepsi – FC Timisoara
- Roosevelt Tavares de Melo “Ezequias”- FC Brasov
- Adrian Salageanu – Otelul Galati
My view: Well, I would have chosen pretty much the same order. Brandan is a complete, mature defender, his versatility is a bonus!, who could make it everywhere. Wanted by Stuttgart in the winter break, he’s now waiting for anothere concrete offer and hoping that Unirea will show understanding, given the fact that he came to Urziceni on a free transfer and acted like a true professional, even when he had every reason to be unhappy. Nice development by Sepsi, who improved while away at Benfica and Santander – we’ll probably see him higher in the standings next season. If Brandan leaves ;-)
My choices: I think Leonardo Veloso deserves to be mentioned, in spite of a handful of appearances for CFR Cluj in the second half of the season. Dinamo’s Pulhac started again to look like a decent player, but the guy seems to have some serious issues and has lost the right moment to move abroad and away from the club that raised him. Something that hopefully won’t happen to Unirea Alba Iulia’s Bucurica (11th place in gsp’s standings!), demanded by several important clubs this summer…
Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.
With Cristian Chivu, Razvan Rat and Stefan Radu out injured, Razvan Lucescu offered Gabriel Tamas (transferred in January to West Bromwich Albion) the chance to reclaim his spot in the team. Another surprise is the absence of the first two choices for the goalkeeper postion, Lobont and Coman, but, looking at the likes of Gaman, Sepsi, Florescu or Deac, it’s obvious that the National Team coach is trying to evaluate some of the promising, yet established players in the first division. Here’s is the full list of players:
- Goalkeepers: Mircea Bornescu (Rapid, 29), Costel Pantilimon (FC Timisoara, 23)
- Defenders: Cristian Panin (CFR Cluj, 31), Vasile Maftei (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Gabriel Tamas (WBA, 26), Dorin Goian (Palermo, 29), Mirel Radoi (Al-Hilal, 28), Valerica Gaman (Universitatea Craiova, 21), Laszlo Sepsi (FC Timisoara, 23), Mihai Nesu (FC Utrecht, 27)
- Midfielders: Banel Nicolita (Steaua, 25), Mihai Roman (FC Brasov, 25), Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Paul Codrea (Siena, 28), Tiberiu Ghioane (Dynamo Kiew, 28), George Florescu (FC Midjtyland, 25), Ciprian Deac (CFR Cluj, 24)
- Forwards: Gigel Bucur (Kuban, 29), Andrei Cristea (Dinamo Bucharest, 25), Ciprian Marica (VFB Stuttgart, 24), Daniel Niculae (Auxerre, 27), Marius Niculae (Dinamo Bucharest, 28).
Update: Lucescu decided that the third keeper will be Steaua’s Ciprian Tatarusanu (22), while the injured Iulian Apostol has been replaced by his colleague from Unirea Razvan Paduretu (28).
The once promising left back returned to Romania to sign a five years long contract with FC Timisoara. The “Viola” outfit paid around 1,5 mil EUR for this transfer, which isn’t surprising given their recent tradition to pay inflated fees, especially in the Romanian market. Obviously, the club thinks it’s a good deal, comparing with the 2,5 mil EUR paid by Benfica in January 2008 (but that was a poor deal!, given the stature of Gloria Bistrita and the player’s ability at that time – proven in the two years spent in Portugal and in Spain – during the loan spell at Racing Santander).
Although young and still promising (plus, he plays on a position that generally lacks good players), Sepsi will turn out a good deal if: 1. Timisoara will manage to win something this year (ideally, the title and a spot in the Champions League, which won’t be that easy) and 2. Sepsi will get to play in the National Team (will get call-ups, for sure, but I doubt he can play ahead of Razvan Rat in the coming 2-3 years).
With this move, though, Timisoara can count on two promising players on the left flank, Sepsi and Latovlevici (promising, but yet to prove himself as a reliable left back) and also be prepared to let go Arman and Artavazd Karamyan, the Armenian twins who entered the last six months of their current contracts.