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Posts Tagged ‘Sasa Bjelanovic’

CFR Cluj and Steaua, ready to start their group stage adventures in Europe

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Both teams come after wins to nil away from home, but a way bigger challenge awaits in Europe, one that promises hefty rewards, but also threatens CFR’s and Steaua’s consistency in Liga 1, where both clubs are considered the main contenders for the title. If the Bucharest outfit started really well, the reigning champions have dropped points and also lost a number of good players and they’ll be heading into the most demanding part of the season with a tired, damaged team, hoping that the new signings will have enough quality to skip quickly over the period needed to adjust to a whole new environment. But, for now, both sets of fans will be thinking of Braga and Stuttgart and I’m sure that there’s also interest from Portugal and Germany, so here’s a quick look at the state of the two Romanian teams.

Ioan Andone will be coaching for the first time in the CL group stage.

CFR Cluj

One word to describe it: inconsistent. The champions won on Friday away at Dinamo (1-0), but in spite of a solid start, struggled to keep the same pace and focus throughout and went close to conceding in the final minutes. Nothing new, really, look at the two halves from Basel and other league games when the defence fell asleep, with the entire team losing shape and balance. All this using pretty much the same starting eleven, due to the large number of injured players…

Basically, there’s unpredictability as far as the game is concerned, although coach Ioan Andone might try to surprise both Braga – the team’s first opponent from the Champions League’s group stage - and his team’s fans. Most likely, he will be gambling on either Sasa Bjelanovic (Kapetanos had some medical problems during the game vs Dinamo) or Luis Alberto, as only these two of the last additions are in good shape and have also been included on the list registered with UEFA. If Bjelanovic can only take the place of the Greek goalscorer, Luis Alberto will challenge Gabriel Muresan and Nicolas Godmeche for a place in front of the back four, with the Frenchman most likely to drop to the bench, in case Andone wants some fresh blood in midfield, where another substitution could see the talented but inconsistent Rui Pedro take the place of Diogo Valente, who’s yet to impress in CFR’s shirt.

Steaua

The talented Chiriches and Tanase will give it all to impress in Europe.

A comfortable away win against newly promoted CSMS Iasi came at the right time, offering a boost of morale without asking for too much effort in exchange. Unfortunately for Laurentiu Reghecampf, who was in Germany to watch Stuttgart’s weekend game, left midfielder Cristian Tanase couldn’t finish the game due to some muscular problems. If the highly rated Romanian international can’t get to full fitness in time, there are two options to replace him: Paul Parvulescu, who also played at left back, can do the winger’s job, allowing Reghecampf to secure the flank, or Alex Chipciu can move on the left and do the exact same job as Tanase, given that he’s also a right footed wide midfielder who likes to cut inside – something he excelled at while playing for Brasov and also earned him the transfer to Steaua. In this case, Adrian Popa would take his place on the right side, adding a lot of pace and some decent skill, but no experience at all in such games. Either way, the Bucharest side, who managed this weekend to claim the first place in Liga 1 after two years, promises to test Stuttgart’s defense with a high paced attacking maneuver that this club had in its DNA, but no other coach had managed to activate it in recent years.

Lacina Traore refuses to stay for one more year in Cluj

June 29, 2010 1 comment

Lacina Traore, 20 years old

Definitely the most wanted player from Liga I, the Ivorian forward, who just missed out on the trip to South Africa, returned to Cluj determined to part ways with CFR. His statements are the opposite of what has been served to the media a week ago by club president Iuliu Muresan, who said that Traore won’t leave Cluj, in spite of the incredible competition for a place in the first eleven, following to the arrival of Sasha Bjelanovic, and the public interest from several clubs, including Arsenal, Napoli, Hamburg, Udinese, Gatalasaray or Rennes.

“I don’t want to stay for another year, even if I’ll get the chance to play Champions League football, I want to leave, I’m not going to spend all my life here”, said the 19 years old, who scored just six goals last season and had a rather mediocre campaign. His price tag is around 4 million Euros, a sum CFR was hoping to double in autumn, when the champions will be playing in the champions’ competition.

CFR Cluj gets Bjelanovic, the under one million euros baby!

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s official, Vicenza’s centre-forward will play Champions League football and earn a decent salary: 350.000 Euros per season. Demanded and convinced by Mandorlini, “Grande Sasa” agreed to a two years long contract, with the option to extend the deal for one more year and forced CFR to pay an important fee for a 31 years old: 950.000 Euros. Which means that CFR wants results in the near future, but also that one of the following guys – Yssouf Kone, Lacina Traore, Cristian Bud – has already packed his bags.

My bet is on Kone, who played way below his ability in the previous season, has a similar wage with Bjelanovic – huge, by Romanian standards! – and entered the last year of his contract, lacking any interest from other clubs. So, if Kone gives up the remaining salary, he’ll probably be allowed to move on a free transfer, which won’t happen with Traore (too expensive for what he can offer right now) or Bud (wanted by FC Bruges, but not desperately enough to meet a 2 million Euros asking price!).

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