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The incomplete preview for the next season of Romanian football

July 8, 2017 2 comments

The season starts on July 15. The transfer period closes on September 4, so we can expect still plenty of action on the market. There will be an almost 3 months long winter break, in which normally other massive changes of personnel take place. The number of points gained during the regular season will be cut in half, so the playoffs can see the Top 6 making the final sprint in a totally different shape than anyone could realistically anticipate at this point. That’s why it makes more sense to just have a look at how the best equipped and most ambitious clubs will line up at the start of Liga 1’s 100th edition…

FCSB (the club formerly known as Steaua):

Having lost the two championships played under the current format, a third defeat looks catastrophic. But feeling sympathetic towards Gigi Becali just doesn’t sound right, in spite of his willingness to spend money in the market. He’s doing it without fully relying on professional advice and his judgment is often clouded by pride, arrogance and an over-confidence in his football knowledge. He has the power to get every (half of) year almost everything he wishes, from the best Romanian prospects to the consistent performers in Liga 1, but more often will weaken one of his rivals than strengthen his club or prove the right fit for his team. His current team is very strong in midfield and attack, has a long bench, but the defensive options are mediocre. He also went for a new coach, but the general feeling is that the team’s former no 10 Nicolae Dica was chosen more for his obedience than his innovative ideas or coaching record. Still, expect FCSB to go all the way, the team is strong and can become even stronger, although some doubts about Becali’s coaching ability should persist 🙂

Champion with Unirea Urziceni, Petrescu returns to Romania after some odd and unsuccessful spells abroad.

CFR Cluj:

A new ownership, strong investment to clear debt and massively overhaul the squad and the signing of a proven coach like Dan Petrescu surely turn once again CFR into a serious title contender. This is the club FCSB should / will fear the most. Petrescu knows exactly what he’s doing and what he needs, while the board has a proven record and a broad perspective over the market. They’ve already signed a dozen of new players, yes, there will be a lack of cohesion in the first part of the season, but if things go right, in a couple of months CFR will look a lot like Unirea Urziceni: a very experienced outfit, very well balanced, whose main assets will be mental, tactical and physical. At this point, I’d tip them to become a dominant team and wouldn’t be surprised to force FCSB into another handicap start in the play-offs.

Dinamo:

Contra’s arrival just before the start of last season’s playoffs produce an incredible effect, but it was all down to the former international’s excellent motivational ability. It will take more than that to really challenge for more than a place in Europe, mostly because Dinamo’s has a rather minimalistic approach on the market. The ownership’s reluctance to spend on transfer fees and big(ger) salaries is well-known, so the feeling is that Contra, who lost two key players already in Dielna and Palic, will have to perform miracles to mount a title challenge, unless re-enforcement is on the way.

CSU Craiova:

There’s a new, intriguing name on the bench: Devis Mangia. A new stadium should be completed within a year and Craiova – who rely on a passionate fan base – could get a major boost right before the play-offs. All the important players have stayed put so far – although the likes of Ivan and Baluta have the potential to attract bids – some interesting additions like Roman and Barbut came in, but the squad still feels too light to go all the way.

Viitorul:

Last season’s champions have surprised with the addition of some very experienced players, but hopefully Hagi won’t turn his kindergarten into a retirement house. He’s surely hoping that this strategy will help him make a good start in Europe, as the important clubs seem to remain reluctant in submitting the kind of bids he was expecting for hot prospects like Coman or Nedelcu, after their displays in Liga 1. It’s going to be almost impossible to repeat last season’s feat, but an European spot remains on the cards and in Hagi’s plans for the campaign set to start on July 15.

Today’s press

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment
  • 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.

Today’s press

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment
  • The Brazilian Leonardo Henrique Veloso (22) has failed to agree terms with Dinamo, who offered him 10.000 EUR per month, until June. Apparently, he is earning 300.000 EUR in Holland, at Willem II, but his contract will run out at the end of the season. There’s still a chance for the left sided player to come to Romania, after CFR Cluj decided to offer him a trial right away.
  • Steaua just added another name to a long list of wanted players: Boubacar Diarra. The 30 years old defender had a solid career in Germany, at SC Freiburg, and is currently under contract with Luzern, in Switzerland, but should catch the final days of Steaua’s training camp from Turkey. So far, Steaua managed to agree terms only with Stelios Parpas, but couldn’t sign the likes of Gora Tall, Edwin Ouon, David Lopes, and is looking very weak at the back.
  • The Brazilian forward Wesley Lopes da Silva (29), who has been impressive since he moved to FC Vaslui from Leixoes in 2009, reacted surprisingly after he was denied a move to Al-Wasl, from Dubai. He demanded a bigger contract than the 200.000 EUR he gets per season right now or he’ll never step foot on the pitch again, for his current club. A discussion with wealthy club owner Adrian Porumboiu will probably take place soon, as Wesley is a key figure at Vaslui, in an excellent season indeed, but, on the other hand, Porumboiu is too experienced to accept a negotiation under these terms.
  • Pablo Daniel Brandan (26) stated today in an interview that he has lost motivation at Urziceni and that he has been treated unfairly by the club. The Argentinian defensive jolly was very close to a move to 1. Bundesliga this winter, but Unirea refused 1,3 million euros, although the player had arrived in Romania on a free transfer back in 2007.

We’re not buying players just from DVDs anymore…

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, there’s a new trend in Romania, where 90% of the clubs were choosing their foreign players from DVDs and lists kindly offered by obscure agents. We’re definitely on our way to become true professionals and I’ll give you an example right away: Dinamo Bucharest – constant title contender – was offered a Brazilian left back who was playing for FC Twente. The guy was followed by the staff on a few DVDs, BUT was called to the team’s training camp for a sort of trial. ONE game later, the announcement: “We were impressed with the player, he’s excellent, we’ll be offering him a contract until the summer, with the option to extend it for three more years.”

I rest my case.

Today’s press

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Ianis Zicu (26) could follow the recently transferred Gigel Bucur (29) to Kuban Krasnodar. The talented, but very inconsistent attacking midfielder has been a target for coach Dan Petrescu in the past, who would have to pay under one million euro to complete the deal. Zicu’s career looked very promising at one point, as Internazionale Milano signed him in 2004, but that was a deal pushed all the way by his agent, Ioan Giovani Becali, who probably had some sort of agreement with Massimo Moratti, with bigger things at stake than just this transfer…
  • Dinamo’s coach Cornel Talnar was impressed by Leonardo Henrique Veloso (22) and asked the board to offer the Brazilian a deal. The left sided defender played only one friendly game for the Red Dogs, who now look ready to offer him a contract until the summer, with the option to extend for three more years!
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