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…
- After a very poor transfer campaign, which resulted in a Ghionea&Rada – Parpas&Jelev switch, Steaua’s coach Mihai Stoichita has every reason to think about Ovidiu Petre‘s move in central defense. Petre is a natural anchorman, who matured a lot in the last couple of years, but unfortunately for him couldn’t perform consistently, being quite prone to injuries. Petre would bring composure and aerial strength in defense and would also be the type of centre-back that Stoichita wants, one that has enought technique and vision to start the team’s build-up from the back four.
- Poli Iasi announced a debt of over half of million euro towards the state budget (unpaid taxes and health ensurance) and is among the first division clubs that will struggle to obtain the license to play first division football next year. Poli also has some debt towards other firms, while the players received this month the wages they were supposed to get in December.
- Dinamo looks quite desperate in the club’s attempts to sign some players, mainly defenders, a week before the start of the second half of season. With the first team in the final days of the training camp from Turkey, the reserve team has been testing players like the Czech Martin Zivny (28), from Austria Karnten, and the Brazilian Joao Paolo Fernando (20), brother of Roma’s Brazilian goalkeeper Doni. The Bucharest side is also hoping to get its hands on Nikola Vukcevic (25), from Buducnost Podgorica, who apparently is expecting his visa to come and negotiate personal terms.