If CFR Cluj got rid of Jorge Costa after a 0-5 defeat at home against another title contender, Dinamo Bucharest took the same call after a 1-3 defeat at home against Petrolul, a team that struggles to avoid relegation. In both cases, the boards went for coaches who have been previously in charge of the two teams, but if Ioan Andone has won a title with CFR, nothing notable springs to mind when you think of Dario Bonetti’s first spell with the Red Dogs.
Apparently recalled only to help as a supervisor of Liviu Ciobotariu, the Italian has to step in now that the coach refused to work in the new structure, but it’s clear from his and the board’s statements that this was the initial idea anyway. It’s not a wise move at all and, as I said in this earlier preview, Dinamo’s chances to win the league will suffer once the shareholders will give up on their surprisingly discrete role from the first half of the season…
Instead of giving a wake-up call to the players – veterans Catalin Munteanu, Ionel Danciulescu and Marius Niculae, who were in top shape until December, were offered new deals in January and their performance instantly dropped afterwards -, the board sacked a humble, but dedicated young coach, who had created a functional and, at times, attractive 4-4-2.
This move will anger the anyway disgusted fans, the very influential agents Victor and Ioan Becali, as well as a club legend like Cornel Dinu, and with so much unrest withing the club’s ranks I doubt that Bonetti’s arrival could have a positive effect on a team that was cruising in Liga I in the first half of the season and now will have to chase CFR, but also keep an eye on their biggest rivals, Steaua and Rapid, who took advantage of the recent unconvincing displays and results.
PS If I were Mihai Stoichita, the recently appointed coach of third placed Steaua, I’d start praying that the next league game versus Otelul Galati will end with a satisfying result for the never satisfied owner, Gigi Becali…
- Tempted to move away this summer, Muresan agreed to a new deal with the champions that will expire in 2015! The anchorman played a key role in CFR’s first eleven since his arrival from Gloria Bistrita, showing excellent work ethic, leadership and quality on and off the pitch. Paid until now with 80.000 Euros per season, almost five times less than what Sixto Peralta was getting for playing as a rotation midfielder, Muresan probably will receive a salary in the region of 150.000 Euros (a couple of good offers from abroad paid dividends), but the official details of his new contract have not been released.
- Unirea Urziceni signed the veteran full-back Petre Marin, from Steaua Bucharest, who gets a two years long deal, in spite of his age! The 36 years old leaves the red and blue outfit after six years of consistent performances and basically gives the green light for Pablo Brandan‘s move away from Urziceni. Marin will be followed to Urziceni by his former colleague, Adrian Neaga, who terminated his contract with Neftci Baku and was also recommended to Ronny Levy by Mihai Stoica.
- Astra Ploiesti made the first two signings of the summer, showing that Steaua’s former manager, Mihai Stoichita, is really close to take over from Marin Barbu. Pierre Ebede, a 30 years old keeper from Cameroon, has been transferred from AEL Limassol, while the Bulgarian Atanas Bornosuzov comes from Litex Lovech to strengthen a team that will aim to finish in the top half of the standings next season. According to several press reports, the two should be followed in the next few days by the likes of Zhivko Zhelev (released by Steaua this summer), Mihaita Plesan (out of favor at Steaua, available for 100.000 Euros) or Stelios Parpas (available for 100.000 Euros)
- After yet another disappointing display and an unexpected defeat in Galati, CFR’s coach Andrea Mandorlini left his assistants take over today’s training session. Obviously, the press speculated about a possible replacement, with president Iuliu Muresan in a short trip to France (where the out of contract Laszlo Boloni resides), but this could be just one of the Italian’s methods to turn things around, after he has failed to put together a solid team and a style of play in the three months long winter break :-).
- Following Adrian Falub’s resignation, Unirea Alba Iulia is close to signing former Steaua coach, the experienced Dumitru “Titi” Dumitriu. Indeed, this might be a good choice for an otherwise decent team to at least have a shot at avoiding the drop.
- National team coach Razvan Lucescu has challenged Florin Costea to help his team avoid relegation, in order to get more attention from him in the near future. Costea is a regular scorer in Liga I, plus Universitatea’s best, highest rated, star (etc, etc) player and most pundits cannot understand why he’s not getting regular call-ups from Lucescu jr. I’m not one of them ;-).
- Steaua’s owner Gigi Becali threatened coach Mihai Stoichita, after his desire (to drop Alexandru Tudose from the first team) was ignored in the 2-2 draw against Unirea Urziceni. Stoichita collected 2 points out of 9 this year and is yet to play the likes of Parpas and Tall, defenders bought by the club at his wish. This is definitely the last warning from Becali, but I won’t be surprised to see Stoichita sticking to his choice, knowing the huge pressure he’s been under since his arrival and that he has reached a point where he contemplates leaving the club anyway.
CFR has already a three point advantage at the top of the Liga I standings, getting four points in two rounds, against the main rivals in the fight for the title, Unirea Urziceni (1-0 away) and Steaua (1-1 at home). Still, the awful performance from last Sunday’s game should push the panic button in Gruia, as I’ve never seen this strong team play so poorly since its promotion in the top flight! Read more…
- 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.
- 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.
- Ronny Levy signed a contract with champions Unirea Urziceni. He will earn 20.000 EUR per month + bonuses, until June 2011. Levy inherits a strong team, which finished third in a tough Champions League group (played against Sevilla, VFB Stuttgart and Glasgow Rangers) and will continue to play in Europe this spring. Defending the title in the league is another objective still in reach, as Unirea has the same number of points (41) with CFR Cluj and Steaua. Only two players departed this winter, the wingers Dacian Varga and Tiberiu Balan, who were loaned from second division club Sportul Studentesc. Levy probably has been promised a transfer budget, although Urziceni was an expert (under Dan Petrescu and Mihai Stoica) in reviving the careers of players released or sold almost for nothing by smaller clubs.
- Steaua seems to have reached an agreement with Bulgarian striker Hristo Yovov (32), who should get 10.000 EUR / month until the summer, a substantial bonus (100.000 EUR according to http://www.gsp.ro) in case the club wins the title and the option to extend the current deal for one more year. The problem is that, so far, nobody from Steaua contacted Levski Sofia, but coach Mihai Stoichita will try to get the green light from the club during the weekend, when he’ll travel to Bulgaria.
- FC Timisoara will keep Pedro Manuel Taborda Moreira (31) until the end of the season, when his contract will expire. The club gave full (sometimes too much) credit to the very promising Costel Pantilimon (22) – on Arsenal’s shortlist – and also bought last summer Nemanja Supic (27), but Taborda impressed in the three appearances for the club this season (a solid display in Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb!) and, with Supic quite injury prone, will be kept as backup. Of course, the club will have to offer/promise something to a player who has every reason to look for another club right now.
- Otelul Galati released Gjorgji Mojsov (24), a central midfielder bought last summer from Rabotnicki. Played in seven games this season, three times as a starter. Otelul also terminated the loan of Arthur Patras, who came from Timisoara and is a regular for Moldova U21. This way, the club for Galati makes room in the first eleven for the promising Razvan Ochirosii, recently transferred (and partially bought) from Steaua, as part of the Zhivko Zhelev deal.