Steaua’s new manager, Victor Piturca, who’s yet to be officially unveiled, doesn’t agree that a team’s best defense is the attack. So, he rebuilds it from scratch. The situation was so dramatic last season that “Pitzi” needs to buy two players for each position in a back-four that will not count on the services of Golanski, Zhelev or Marin, who have been already released, while Baciu, Emeghara or Tudose – backup solutions during the previous campaign – are probably kept just until new reinforcements arrive.
Until now, Steaua bought what seems to be its first choice right back, the Bulgarian Yordan Todorov, who comes on loan from CSK Sofia, for just 40.000 Euros. In central defense, Piturca asked for the experienced Dorel Stoica, 32, who comes on a free transfer, but is in the middle of a huge scandal, involving his former club Universitatea Craiova. Able to play in central midfield, as well, Stoica should be the leader of the back four that needs at least two other quality centre-backs. One of them is Octavian Abrudan, who’s expected to sign in a matter of days and add aerial strength and intelligence, but won’t help much when it comes to the pace of the defensive line, Stoica being a slow player, as well. Piturca also signed Florin Gardos, from Concordia Chiajna, a towering central defender, U21 international, but someone that probably will have to wait and learn before getting to play on a regular basis. A fourth signing is needed, and that’ll probably be David Junior Lopes, from Cordoba, but we’d have to wait and see, as his arrival has been already announced a couple of times, by the papers… On the left, Steaua could get a second Bulgarian player, Stanislav Angelov, who is available on the market, after being released by Energie Cottbus.
The strategy is obvious: get old experienced defenders, in order to minimize the needed time to make a solid back-four, but the lack of pace and understanding will surely do some damage, at least in the first couple of months. How much? Well, enough to make these guys regret that they have spent under 100.000 Euros to get the players mentioned above…
- RICARDO CADU – CFR Cluj
- GEORGE GALAMAZ – Unirea Urziceni
- Mihai Pintilii – International Curtea de Arges
- Octavian Abrudan – FC Brasov
- Sergiu Costin – Otelul Galati
My view: The top two teams in the league offer the top two centre-backs in this analysis, which is fair, given the fact that in Romania destroying the opposition’s game is the main task of most of the clubs. Cadu‘s main asset is the leadership and the abilty to step up and deliver in the most crucial moments, while Galamaz is, for two years now, the most consistent Romanian centre-back, a very commanding presence indeed and a player that has kept on working and improving. International’s Pintilii is a nice surprise – it’s his first season in Liga I – and I remember him being offered to Steaua two or three years ago ;-).
My choices: Just missing out on the top five is another International defender, Vlad Chiriches, who I consider to have a nice future ahead of him and I dare to put him in line with Universitatea Craiova’s highly rated Valerica Gaman. Sarghi from Otelul and Papp from FC Vaslui are two other interesting Romanian defenders, so we can say that at least in this area we do have some players coming from behind.
Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.