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Winter mercato in Romania: the Bucharest clubs release high earners, those from Cluj have money to spend

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

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.

Madness! Kapetanos came as a free agent, scored a lot of goals, played in the World Cup, yet could be released for free!

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…

Steaua gets a brand new defense

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

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…

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