Unirea Alba Iulia got their second win of the year against the struggling Universitatea Craiova through a Ciprian Selagea brace and the club looks set to fight for its chances until the last round, as Blaz Sliskovic promised. I was impressed not just by Unirea’s game, but by the coach’s decision to hand a start to this 20 years old, who was a regular last season, helping the club promote to Liga I alongside another very promising youngster, Gheorghe Grozav, currently playing for Standard Liege (even in a Europa League quarter final!). Left to mature on the bench by Unirea’s former coach, Adrian Falub (even the youngest of Romanian trainers have an obsolete mentality…), who said that the midfielder is too young for Liga I matches, Selagea got instant credit from Sliskovic, who told him to have faith in his skills and train harder in order to be able to develop and put in a string of consistent performances, while he plays for the first team! In fact, he offered him so much credit that the 20 years old was assigned to take the penalty against Universitatea in the 69th minute, when the score was 0-0!
So, my dear Mr. Falub (and this goes for all the coaches who still think that their pathetic teams will lose insignifiant first, second and third division games, if they will put in a kid and leave out an experienced, but mediocre 28-29-35 years old), maybe you should reflect a bit about this matter, now that you are unemployed. I can write down 100 players between 27 and 30 years old with an unimpressive past, a useless present and absolutely no future, who continue to play on a regular basis in the first division - they’re not the ones to be blamed for that -, while we are complaining that no one is coming from behind… Oh, and that our young promising players leave too early abroad, without playing in Romania!
- With the interest from Napoli and Arsenal already confirmed by CFR’s board, press reports suggest Galatasaray Istanbul has added the Ivorian Lacina Traore on its shortlist. Apparently, Galata’s technical staff has been alerted by one of its own players, Kader Keita, who spoke highly about the promising forward, nicknamed “the new Drogba”. The news got an almost immediate reaction from Andrea Mandorlini, who fears that the player will have trouble focusing on the job at hand, as everyone saw in the derby against Steaua.
- Dinamo’s board took once again the wrong call, yet will continue to wonder why this is the club with the biggest discipline issues in Liga I. Caught by the paparazzi in a club, the Senegalese Ousmane N’Doye managed somehow to dribble his way through all the threats (huge fine, relegation to the reserve team, lost place in the first eleven) and is announced again in Dinamo’ first eleven for tonight’s game against Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt… Read more…
- Leonardo Henrique Veloso (22) returns to Holland, after two failed attempts to sign a contract with important Romanian clubs. After his refusal to accept 10.000 EUR per month from Dinamo Bucharest, the Brazilian left back didn’t even got the chance to play in a friendly match for CFR Cluj, as the club’s board refused to even try and negotiate a contract in the region of 200.000 EUR per season, as demanded by the player’s agent.
- Universitatea couldn’t find an agreement with Brazilian left back Anderson Santana dos Santos (23) from Nautico, as the club changed the terms of the negotiated deal, according to the player’s agent, Gaspar Freire. Dutch coach Mark Wotte is now trying to persuade the club to invest in another target, Anthony Obodai (27). The Ghanian midfielder, who can play in the centre of the park or on the right flank, has spent three years at Ajax Amsterdam and now belongs to RKC Waalwijk. The midfielder apparently wants 150.000 EUR per season.
- Jaime Celestino Dias Braganca (26) returned to Germany, after a trip to Romania that took him in a different place than he was expecting. The Portuguese winger, who belongs to Ingolstadt, wanted to take part on a trial with CFR Cluj, but was redirected to Unirea Alba Iulia, a first division club that currently holds several loaned players from Cluj.
- FC Timisoara, Kuban Krasnodar and Gheorghe Bucur (29) shook hands and completed a deal that has been negotiated right after Dan Petrescu’s appointment as head coach of the Russian club. Timisoara gets 1,8 mil. EUR in exchange of one of the most prolific strikers of Liga I in recent years (89 goals in 194 matches), while the player should earn 600.000 EUR for the following three seasons.
- Unirea Alba Iulia completed the loan of Serbian centre-forward Nemanja Jovanovic (25), from FC Vaslui. The 1,91 cm front man will stay in Alba Iulia until the summer, where he will fight for a place in the first eleven with fellow countryman Rade Veljovic (23), who’s on loan from CFR Cluj. Jovanovic is a tall and athletic centre-forward who always showed potential, but never found his place. The nomadic striker will play for the seventh club since his arrival in Romania, in 2003!
- Cosmin Barcauan (31, central defender, from OFI) and Ciprian Vasilache (26, left midfielder, un-attached) agreed to sign for Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt contracts that will expire at the end of the season.
- Lorient signed Sebastian Dubarbier (23), from CFR Cluj. For 2 mil. EUR, the French outfit landed a very good deal, as the Argentinian left winger has the qualities to adjust to the Ligue 1 style of play and could further increase his market value over the next couple of years. Dubarbier leaves CFR after 57 matches played and 11 goals scored in the league and, except this first half of season, when he clearly felt frustrated by the club’s refusal to sell him and played below his ability, deserves a place in the top 10 foreign footballers that ever played in Liga I.
- Alexandru Ionita‘s (20) move to FC Koln has been finalized, although surprising reports still appear in the press, regarding interest from Italy and France. The striker was in Germany yesterday, where he passed the medical exam, while the Bundesliga outfit pushed all the way to finish the deal, in spite of continuous bargaining (Turkish market style) from Rapid. In the end, Koln agreed to everything (Rapid even asked for an extra 5% as training&education fee, although Ionita was a product of Rapid’s youth system!) and will pay 2,5 mil. EUR for the U21 international, will pay the 5% in the summer and will also leave Ionita in Bucharest until the end of the season. Coach Zvonimir Soldo explained: “We’ve been watching him since his debut for the first team, I believe he’s a very talented player and will feature in my plans for the coming season”.
- Unirea Alba Iulia completed the loan of Ramon Nunez (24) from Cruz Azul, in exchange of 25.000 EUR. The central midfielder will stay in Romania until the summer, when he’s expected to play for Honduras at the World Cup, with Cruz Azul hoping that his presence in Europe and performances from South Africa will help them sell the player to a bigger club.
- Universitatea Craiova loaned experienced left back Silviu Balace (31) from FC Vaslui, until the end of the season. The once promising defender, famous for his resemblance with Pavel Nedved, both in physical appearance and style of play, was out of favor at FC Vaslui, who also managed to buy this winter a Bulgarian international on his position, Zhivko Milanov.
- Andres Felipe De Souza Galiassi (29) ended his loan spell at Kasimpasa and agreed to move to Unirea Alba Iulia, until the end of the season. The Brazilian centre-back still belongs to CFR Cluj, where he collected 71 matches in the first division, before being sent to Turkey, alongside Argentinian centre-forward Diego Ruiz (29).
- After completing the loans of Vasile Buhaescu (21 years old, right midfielder & forward), Hristijan Kirovski (24 years old, striker) and Neven Markovic (22 years old, left back), all from FC Vaslui, Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt takes also on loan Arthur Patras (21 years old, left winger). The U21 international from Moldova belongs to FC Timisoara and spent the first half of season on loan to Otelul Galati.
- Julius Woobay (25) returns to Cyprus, after three consecutive seasons in Romania. He will play at Apollon Limassol until the summer, on loan from Universitatea Craiova. Before joining the Romanian club in 2007, the attacking midfielder from Sierra Leone had also played over 60 matches for Nea Salamina.
- Leixoes announced an agreement with Rapid’s out-of-favor striker Joao Paulo Pinto Ribeiro (29). The Portuguese player is still in Romania, though, where he will try to find an agreement to end his current deal. Rapid has been trying to offload the player for some time now and would relish the opportunity to stop paying a huge salary for a mediocre striker, who scored 3 goals in 40 matches.
The title might turn out to be true, but right now it’s just a word game, because “wonderful” can be translated in Romanian in “grozav”. And Grozav, Gheorghe Grozav to be precise, will move to Liege, in a deal that will cost the Belgian club 350.000 EUR plus 15% of the next transfer fee (but not less than 400.000 EUR!). The forward has already been tested by Romanian coach Laszlo Boloni last summer and proably has been monitorred eversince.
Grozav (19) has been promoted by Unirea Alba Iulia last season and helped the club achieve promotion, playing this year in sixteen out of seventeen matches in the first division, scoring two goals in the proces. He’s a talented youngster, right footed, good dribbling and technique, who likes to play as a winger and joins the coach who promoted a lot Cristiano Ronaldo when he was at Sporting Lisbon. Rest assured, I won’t go with this any further .
- Steaua seems to have agreed to sign three players, but only one deal has some sort of confirmation so far: the Bulgarian centre-back Zhivko Zhelev agreed to a 10.000 EUR/month contract and will leave his current club, Otelul Galati. In exchange, Steaua will send to Galati the talented left midfielder Razvan Ochirosii (who was “snatched” from the same club by Mihai Stoica, now at Unirea Urziceni), one of the hottest prospects a few years ago, but who never made it among the seniors at Steaua. Otelul gets rid of a problem and also gets 50% of a talented 20 years old. Good deal!
- The other two Steaua targets: Bulgarian striker Hristo Yovov and Rwanda central defender Edwin Ouon.
- Adrian Cristea (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old) has been offered to Kuban Krasnodar for 1 mil. EUR. This is no surprise, as Dan Petrescu, the new manager, has been given complete control over transfers and already announced that will try to sign 5 or 6 Romanian players. Cristea is definitely among the most talented, but has an atitude problem and is a gamble Petrescu won’t make. Same situation with Ianis Zicu (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old), although Petrescu already tried to sign him when he was coaching Unirea Urziceni, so has better chances. Anyway, it’s going to be a very good month for agents Victor and Ioan “Giovani” Becali .
- Vladimir Bozovic (left back/left midfielder, Rapid, 28 years old) is a target for a French first division outfit, according to his agent, Zvonko Milojkovic. Rapid is in deep financial trouble and owner George Copos has been trying to sell the club (the German businessman Lutz Stache was the last person interested in such a deal), so raising money from transfers looks like the only option right now. Rapid paid 200.000 for his transfer from OFK Belgrade in 2007, but won’t settle for anything below 1 mil. EUR.
- In case Gigel Bucur (striker, FC Timisoara, 29 years old) leaves to club – an offer from Kuban is expected – the Viola outfit will try to sign the Argentinian Pablo Osvaldo Vazquez (centre forward, Strongest, 27 years old).
- The talented Gheorghe Grozav (forward, Unirea Alba Iulia, 19 years old) is very close to a deal with Standard Liege, where he went on trial last summer and left a good impression. The transfer fee: 300.000 EUR