- Igli Tare is expected to watch Cristian Sapunaru from the stands in the Romania-Bosnia game, with reports saying that Lazio is willing to pay up to 7 million Euros for Porto’s right back and have prepared an wage of 1 million Euros per season for the player. Sapunaru’s deal with the Dragons will expire in 2013.
- Dorinel Munteanu has qualified Otelul in the Champions League’s group stage, after winning the title, but is struggling to get the deal he wants from Marius Stan, the club’s president. Munteanu wants 300.000 Euros per season, a sum Otelul isn’t willing to pay, so the coach might be a champion out of contract, this summer.
- Second place and qualified for the preliminary stages of the Champions League, FC Timisoara finds out today UEFA’s decision. The Viola outfit might lose its licence due to some financial problems that could have been easily solved and, at the same time, not just its place in Europe, but also the one from Liga I!
- Rapid’s owner, George Copos: “Having again Razvan Lucescu (the current national team coach) on the bench is a beautiful dream”.
- Cristiano Bergodi is linked with a return to Steaua. After getting the sack for showing the guts to ask Gigi Becali to step out of the team’s dressing room, the Italian’s chances should be slim. Very slim!
Winter mercato in Romania: the Bucharest clubs release high earners, those from Cluj have money to spend
The huge financial problems from Liga I have made most of the clubs look & act normal this winter, not only in their refusal to enter bidding contests and pay high transfer fees, but also in their reluctance to bring in a high number of players during this mercato window. The main concern is getting the wage budgets under control and mainly the Bucharest clubs are releasing some top players without a second thought. Steaua already parted ways with the Bulgarian utility man Angelov, who was earning 250.000 Euros/season, and is looking to offload a prolific front man like Kapetanos (who had a ratio of a goal scored every two games and also featured in the World Cup, last summer!) for the same reason. Dinamo cleared an important debt with former shareholder Florian Walter (now the owner of Universitatea Cluj) by sending there probably the most talented attacking midfielder in Liga I, Adrian Cristea, with other big names like Florin Bratu and Ousmane N’Doye already out the door. Rapid’s board looks more experienced and balanced, though, considering it’s still early to release the un-wanted players, a strategy that could produce some results in the coming weeks.
A different situation can be seen in Cluj, where CFR and Universitatea have played a mercato derby, signing a few players each, in attempts not really to save their current campaigns, but more to build for the future. The champions have a long list of players that will not travel for the team’s training camps and have been instructed to find new clubs and the names are impressive: the former Rosenborg striker Yssouf Kone, by far the highest earner in Liga I, the right back Tony, who really helped the club win its’ last seven trophies, plus Alcantara, Sforzini, Peskovic and Anselmo Ramon. They didn’t waste any time and already secured the right flank with the experienced Maftei, from Unirea Urziceni, but also bought the in-form Nicoara, from newly promoted Victoria Branesti, a 23 years old left sided midfielder. Their other two signings are rather strange though, as Homei (23, right back) and Minca (26, goalkeeper) still need to prove themselves, in spite of a quite long time spent at this level…
It was nice to see Universitatea continue its’ ambitious project (there’s also a new stadium, Cluj Arena, under construction in Cluj) and the team looks stronger in almost every compartment: former NT keeper Marius Popa has signed from Pandurii, while Aburdan (Steaua) and Cristea (Dinamo) add quality and experience in defense and midfield, being the type of players that you’d expect to see playing for top six teams, not move to one currently placed just above relegation zone.
Still, in spite of a few clubs moving on the market, the fact that top targets like Wesley (FC Vaslui), Eric de Oliveira (Gaz Metan), Ribeiro Moraes (Gloria Bistrita), Cornel Rapa (Otelul Galati) or Gabriel Matei (Pandurii) are considered too expensive at the moment should do well to an always inflated market. Not long ago 50% of Torje (Dinamo) or Tanase (Steaua) was bought for millions, an approach that could have lead to losses even if the players had moved to better leagues from abroad, not better clubs from Romania, a country full of teams lead by excellent managers. Experts in buying high and selling low…
The Brazilian has been the best player from Liga I in the first part of the season and Gaz Metan’s efforts to keep away the interested clubs would have been admirable, if they would have tried to offer their star player a better deal, rather than lie about his real contract situation. The board, represented by Ioan Horoba, who previously worked for Gloria Bistrita – only the most controversial club in the country, in the past two decades -, offered the press a version nobody went to the trouble of verifying, so it has been said more than once that Eric was bought from Metropolitano and signed a new five years long deal. Of course, that wasn’t true, but the player’s agents minded their business and continued to work on finding a new club for the Brazilian, who should have returned to Metropolitano, next summer, unless no other club (except Gaz Metan) would have triggerred a release clause of 350.000 Euros – way below his current market value.
According to Eric’s agent, he’s 90% close to a move to 1. Bundesliga and, considering a detail he shared on Twitter, the three possible destinations are: Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen and Hannover 96, a club I used to work for, which I believe to have the right profile for the Brazilian and viceversa…
Before Italy-Romania, WBA’s centre-back threw a bone to the Romanian press: “You’re going to write a lot more about me in the near future”. Of course, speculation started and someone else tipped the journalists about a transfer to London, mentioning the “close friendship” between Ancelotti and Ioan Becali. Keep in mind that Ianis Zicu and Adrian Mutu moved to Inter because of Becali’s friendship with Massimo Moratti and if there will be a second Romanian player to sign for Real Madrid, after Hagi, it will happen only because the Becalis are in such good relations with The Special One-Nil.
So, with all this solid info gathered in a professional manner, everyone thought of Chelsea, with Terry’s injury considered the second perfect reason for a move that nobody dared to think of last week. Today, we hear that the player’s agent flies to London to discuss the deal, but, in my opinion, this should only place Tamas further away from West Bromwich, yet not a centimeter closer to Chelsea. In fact, I believe that The Blues are just part of the agent’s strategy to find a better deal for
his client himself and, if the defender is going to move to London, it would make sense to see him in either a more wealthy or more ambitious club than WBA. And, I guess that Fulham and West Ham are out, Chelsea’s the bait and Arsenal’s manager isn’t satisfied that Tamas only played in Ligue I – if he was born in France, maybe he had a chance. That leaves us with Tottenham, right?
When Astra Ploiesti announced the transfer of three players from last season’s runner-up, Unirea Urziceni, it all looked very strange, especially with a certain George Galamaz (team captain, national team player) among them. A week later, the deal that had been announced even on Astra’s official website was off: Gigi Becali, Steaua’s owner, who had to receive around 4 million Euros from Dumitru Bucsaru, discussed a deal that makes the Bucharest club extremely well-equipped for a title race that looks less demanding than in the past three seasons. Six players will move to Ghencea: George Galamaz (central defender), Ricardo Gomes (central midfielder), Iulian Apostol (central midfielder), Laurentiu Marinescu (attacking midfielder), Marius Onofras (forward), Marius Bilasco (centre forward). Number seven is still in talks with Steaua, but is definitely worth waiting for: Pablo Brandan, the Argentinian left back who was so close to VFB Stuttgart last winter and waited in vain for an offer from abroad, which, surprisingly, didn’t arrive. This extraordinary move on the transfer market comes as a blow for Steaua’s rivals, who had already enough problems on their own, but brings good news especially for Universitatea Craiova, where Victor Piturca gets an unexpected gift: some of the players brought by him to Ghencea this summer are available either for free (Todorov) or for low fees (Dorel Stoica – 100.000 Euros).
According to gsp.ro, Lazio is looking for a strong centre-forward and the Greek is on a very short list, as the cheapest option, around 2 million Euros. Kapetanos has been a top player for Steaua, coming as a free agent two years ago and proving indispensable, scoring 26 goals in 54 appearances in Liga I. He is yet to feature this season, as he missed a big part of this summer’s training, being involved in the World Cup, and also because Steaua’s ex-coach, Victor Piturca, wanted a different type of player as the lone striker. Things look different now, though, as Ilie Dumitrescu, the new trainer, said that Kapetanos is one of the team’s four vital players and, without a replacement, he’s hoping that the Greek can stay fit throughout this campaign. The player is expected to start his first game on Monday, when Steaua plays the newly promoted Victoria Branesti, while I expect the player to stay put, in case of a 2 million Euros offer, given Dumitrescu’s strategy and Gigi Becali’s desperation to keep the new coach happy.
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.