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Category Archives: Transfers

Musings from the garden

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A gentle breeze, blue skies, and the sun shining. The summer has hit Norway’s west-cost, and it there to be enjoyed.

Girls in skirts, lovely pints during hot summer evenings, reading in the garden while having a huge cup of tea. Life couldn’t be more lovely. I’m enjoying the evening sun from my garden as I’m typing this. And the Pinot Gris I’m drinking is excellent. A tad too acidic maybe, but still excellent(wine ponce-dom soon to come).

However, there is this tiny voice at the back of my head:

Something could have happened, something will eventually happen, you know how fast lived football is these days…

Sometimes I manage to block it out, go back to my book, or a lovely girl passing by takes my mind of things.

Eventually though, this voice gets the better of me, and since the internet and all those lovely papers reporting on transfers, and transfer rumors are now available on my smart phone I’ll give in.

Kitchen sink drama
Given the content that is published on the football pages throughout the summer, one has to say that it all seems like a strange kitchen sink drama. A version of “Coronation Street” for balding, aging fat men. And me.

Player A has left club C and plays for X next season, and C’s deal with F has fallen through, because of club Y giving F a better offer at the last minute. The only thing missing is actors from South-England imitating a Yorkshire accent.

Lars Aabjerg Pedersen of Pondering Calcio wrote this excellent piece regarding the media frenzy during the summer. If you follow those guidelines you will 1. remain sane, and 2. you are more likely to see through the fog of all those transfer rumors.

I will add a couple of Bundesliga specific rules to that list, and hopefully you’ll be good to go.

1. The two leading(most read) German football sites are Kicker and Bild these days. Their reporting on transfer rumors is often based on their own sources. Both of them appear to have excellent sources when it comes to the dealings of the giants of German football. Bild is most of the time spot on about what will happen at Bayern Munich. Kicker do often quote reliable sources in their stories. If the story you are reading meets those criteria, there might be something to it.

However, many stories Bild and Kicker publish throughout the summer aren’t their own stories! Watch out for the sources these papers quote. If Bild or Kicker are quoting other local papers from around Germany you have to ask yourself:

Is the paper Bild/Kicker is/are quoting usually a reliable source? Do they have the access that could give them the opportunity to report accurately about the dealings of the club they are covering?

If the answer is “yes” there might be some truth to the story. However, if the local paper that is quoted gets a lot of things wrong, don’t get too excited about what you are reading. Case in point: Last night a small local paper from the Hannover area wrote that Christian Pander had signed for 96, and some bigger German papers jumped on that story. Turned out Pander didn’t sign, at least according to himself.

2. If a Bundesliga transfer rumor is first reported outside of Germany there is most likely nothing to it.

Case in point: News of the World reported that Nasri would sign for Bayern, because Ribbery was about to leave Bayern Munich. Another one from this week: Italian media outlets reported that Bastian Schweinsteiger was on his way to AC Milan.

If a rumor involving such an enormous transfer were to be true, it would first or simultaneously appear in a German publication. Remember: Bild, Kicker and local publications are always monitoring the situation around those players, and they wouldn’t miss such a move! This sort of thing is their bread and butter.

3. If a player is linked to Bayern Munich, and the player himself confirms that he wants to play for them, he’ll usually end up in Bavaria. Don’t take sporting directors saying “we’ll never sell that player to Bayern” at face value. They are trying to negotiate a better deal for their club. Case in point: Manuel Neuer and his transfer to Bayern Munich.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Take a look at Pondering Calcio, and follow Lars on Twitter as well. You won’t be disappointed, I promise! 


Panic on the streets of Bremen

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The team lacks ideas, their performances have been lackluster so far this season. Werder has enormous problems defensively and the otherwise so productive attacking force of the team hasn’t worked either. What are Thomas Schaaf and Klaus Allofs going to do?

Klaus Allofs and Thomas Schaaf have formed one of the best coaching teams of the league for more then 11 years now. While Schaaf knew how to lead his players to victory, Allofs was legendary for finding the right signings. Johan Micoud, Diego, Naldo, Mesut Özil etc. The list of successful signings of Allofs is long.

Bremen in a coma


Mertesacker and Fritz doing what Werder defenders have done most of the time this season: Watching their opponent. (Source, 1. FC Köln Facebook page)

However, this year, it seems, Allofs has lost his magic touch. The Brazilian signing Wesley has been used all of the pitch, but hasn’t impressed on many occasions this season. Silvestre has made the left back position to his special disaster area, and Marko Arnautovic hasn’t scored since the second match of this Bundesliga season. Read the rest of this entry

The Happel curse

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Ever since Ernst Happel left the club, the Hamburger SV has struggled to live up to the fans expectations. Here is why.

It was easy to spot the relief on Armin Veh’s face after the HSV 1-0 victory over an injury-plagued Eintracht Frankfurt

Armin Veh has already won one Bundesliga championship with VfB Stuttgart. Will he be able to lead the HSV to glory?

side. Before the start of the spring season Veh was amongst the league’s  top contenders to loose his position as a coach. Veh has somewhat managed to pull his head out of the noose with two rather dodgey 1-0 victories. However, it is unclear if Veh is able to keep his job if his team doesn’t continue to win games. 
The revolving door policy

Standards in Hamburg are high. The press and the fans are expecting a top three finish every season, and glorious Champions League matches. Ever since Ernst Happel left the club the reality has been a different one. The club managed to win the league twice, the cup once and the European Cup once during the reign of the Austrian.(The European Cup turned later into the Champions League).

After Happel left the club a total of 17 coaches during 23 years have tried to lead the club to success. (Here is a list over all the coaches the HSV has had since the start of the Bundesliga in 1963). All of them failed. Giving coaches less then two seasons to establish themselves is generally believed to be a mistake. Thomas Schaaf needed a total of four seasons to win his first title with Werder Bremen(excluding the

Glory days: Lars Bastrup (r.) stops the BFC-player Hans Jürgen Riediger in an European Cup match in 1982.

DFB-Cup he won a couple of month after he had taken charge of Bremen). I do not believe that Hamburg ever will win another title if they give their coaches less then two seasons to establish themselves at the club. Coaches like Happel, who win the league in their first season, are rare. If Hamburg is trying to find another Ernst Happel, they will have to wait for the next title for a really long time.

Money fixes
Money will certainly buy you a couple of hours of “loving” on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, but the HSV has spent its money even more unwisely then those who frequent the Reeperbahn. The signing of Ruud van Nistelrooy seems to go into the history of the club as another signing that wasn’t worth the effort the club put into it. The Dutchman arrived with a history of injuries, but the HSV still chose to trust his abilities. Now that van Nistelrooy has stayed with the club for just one year he wants to move again. Roughly the same thing happened with Rafael van der Vaart, and a number of different players.

Furthermore, the club has made a number of really poor, costly signings. Cristian Raul Ledesma is one such example.

Costly and ineffective: Cristian Raul Ledesma played a total of 16 Bundesliga matches, not scoring a single goal. Here he is in the jersey of Olympiacos.

However, it has to be remarked that coaches who don’t get to stay for more then a year or a year and half have a hard time to form the team that they have in mind. A manager needs at least two transfer windows, sometimes even four or five transfer windows, to form a team that he is happy with.

If Veh isn’t given more than a season to prove himself at the club, he will most certainly fail like all the of the other 16 coaches that have tried their luck after Ernst Happel left. And like all of them, he really didn’t get the chance to prove himself either.

Update: the Bundesliga for newcomers segment will be finished this weekend, so stay tuned.
Should Armin Veh stay at Hamburg? Leave a comment below.

Winter madness

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Cologne and Mönchengladbach are trying to get out of the ditch they are in by buying new players. Will the clubs shopping spree make a difference for the second half of this year’s Bundesliga?

This winter has seen few exciting signings so far. Bremen sold Hugo Almeide and replaced him with a young, Swedish striker nobody has heard of, while Bayern managed to snatch Luiz Gustavo from Hoffenheim.

The clubs that have been the most active so far are 1. Fc Cologne av Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both clubs are obviously trying to get out from the bottom of the table, but will their new signings be able to deliver the goods and bring relieve to the fans?

Will the madness ever stop?
As I mentioned before on this blog, the Fc is always creating controversies. It is almost a law of nature that one controversy happens in Cologne every few month. This time around the coach Frank Schaefer managed to piss of his captain Mohamed, by giving the captain’s armband to Lukas Podolski.

Furthermore Cologne decided to buy a total of four new players in this transfer window. It seems to be the action of a team in panic, trying to see what is working. Let’s take a look at the players the team from the Rhine-city of Cologne has decided to buy.

Michael Rensing has a point to proove.

Replacing Faryed Mondragon in the goal is former Bayern goalie Michael Rensing. (Mondragon managed to create a controversy of his own this season when he said he was as badly treated as Jesus.) Rensing is a solid buy. He is a capable shot saver, and has a decent area control. Having left Bayern has certainly left a bitter taste in Rensing’s mouth. Rensing is a keeper who wants to proove a point. If he prooves his point, he might turn out to be one of the best signings of this transfer window.

The next siging is a unknown man for most football fans in Europe: Tomoaki Makino. The Japanees defender is said to be a solid center back, and has impressed new sporting director Volker Finke. Finke knows Makino himself from his time in Japan.

Polish winger Sławomir Peszko is the Fc’s third signing. Having seen Peszko a few times playing for the national team, I must say that he certainly brings the speed and a goalscoring ability that Cologne has been lacking on the wings. However, one cannot be sure that Peszko will adjust to the Bundesliga imediatly.

Last, but not least, Christian Eichner: the defender from Hoffenheim is already a known quantity in the league, and has been a solid player for a number of years.

While Eichner is a solid signing, there is certain risk factor over the other three signings. I am afraid that restructuring the team in mid-season isn’t the best moves. Not selling some of the weaker players besides Mondragon will probably create some tension in the team. Cologne might have shot itself in the leg. As so many times before.

A defender, a kingdom for a defender
Gladbach have certainly had trouble of their own. Raúl Bobadilla seems to have fallen out of favor, and the strain of bad lack concerning injuries has followed the club throughout the season. However, the club is now trying to lift the club from the bottom and into mid-table.

Håvard Nordtveit makes a return to the Bundesliga.

Signing two defenders, while letting one go is a sound investment. Martin Stranzl was a good defender while he played for Stuttgart, I am sure that the Austrian international will make an imediate impact at Gladbach. Håvard Nordtveit has for a long time been regarded to be one of the most talented Norwegian defenders. Arsene Wenger remarked that he has never met a more mature 16 years old when he signed the west-Norwegian. Having had a loan spell at Nürnberg last season, Nordtveit is used to the Bundesliga.

However, the signing of Mike Hanke might not be a wise choice of the management. Hanke is known to be an unpleasent character when he is sitting on the bench. He is certainly talanted, but his form has varried through the years. It will be exciting to see if he makes an impact at Borussia.

However, I am still convinced that Borussia will be playing at the second highest level next season. Having had bad luck all season long. Furthermore, most people would agree, their underlying problem seems to be in midfield. Nothing has been done to strengthen the midfield, and the club’s unwillingness to part ways with Micheal Frontzeck has already caused a huge amount of damage.

Update on the Bundesliga for newcomers segment of this blog: I will not be able to finnish the segment before friday’s match due to me leaving Norway for a few days. However, I will return next week and I am optimistic that the segment will be finnished before the 19th round of Bundesliga action.

Do you think that these winter signings will make an impact? Leave a comment below.

Go north for a bargain

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On January 1st the transfer window will be open and struggling clubs are looking to strengthen their side. Here are 5 Norwegian players that might be ready to move from dreary Tippeliga football and into the big leagues.

Hannover 96 in particular know that the Tippeliga includes many bargains. Having spent just over 1.5 million euros has bought them their attackers Didier Konan Ya(former Rosenborg player) and Moa(ex Våleranga). Money well spent according to most experts.

It is already rumored that talented youngster Håvard Nordtveit is on his way to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Making him the second Norwegian after Moa Abdellaoue to make the move into the Bundesliga this season. Here is a list of the five most promising Norwegian players that might make the move to the Bundesliga or another European league in the near future.

May return: Håvard Nordtveit has already gathered some Bundesliga experience when he was on a loan spell at Nürnberg.

Erik Huseklepp

Has for a long time been regarded as one of the most talented players in the Norwegian Tippeliga. Mainz have already tried to sign the speedy and technically well versed winger, but dropped him when they felt ill-treated by Huseklepp’s club SK Brann Bergen.

Having found his place in the national side under Egil «Drillo» Olsen, it is high time for the 26 year old to make his move from the rainy city of Bergen and into one of Europe’s top-league’s. The boyish looking winger’s contract is running for another three years, and it is unclear how high Brann’s asking prize is. Moa Abdellaoue was in similar position before moving to Hannover, and had to be bought free for around 1 million euros.

Highlights: Erik Huseklepp has set the Norwegian Tippeliga on fire during his last few seasons at SK Brann.

Markus Henriksen
The talented youngster has already drawn the attention of Bundesliga club Werder Bremen. Hard working, the 18 year old is already able to read the game of football as if he has been playing at the top level for a long time. Being described as one of the greatest talents Norwegian football has ever produced, he certainly has a lot to prove.

Playing 26 of 30 matches in this years season(2010 season), he managed to get his name on the scoring sheet 7 times and 2 assists to his name. Having a long time contract he will certainly be a pricey man, but probably a lot cheaper then a player of his caliber who plays in one of Europe’s top-leagues.

Rune Almenning Jarstein
The hot tempered keeper has been among bottom-side Viking most stable players in his first season in Norway’s oil-capital. Jarstein has been capped 30 times at the youth level and 8 times at the senior level for his national side, and has had trials during his teens at European top clubs.

Jarstein has often been described as a good shot saver with a good areal control. The east-Norwegian seems certainly ready to move out of Norwegian and onto greater things. Having two years left of his contract, it is likely that Jarstein might move in one of the next two transfer windows.

Per Ciljan Skjelbred
Having already been linked with Schalke 04 last summer, the 23 year old Norwegian midfielder has already drawn the interest of several European sides. The young Norwegian has constantly been described as one of Europe’s most talented players, and will most likely move in the near future. Former Rosenborg manager Per Mathias Høgmo has been quoted saying: The sky is the limit for Per Ciljan.

Having scored 8 times in 136 Tippeliga matches, Skjelbred certainly has shown a lack of killer instinct in front of the goal.

The sky is the limit: Per Ciljan Skjelbred has been regarded as one of the most talented Norwegian players(Photo by Vegard Holen).

Mohammed Fellah
The 21 year old former team mate of Moa Abdellaoue is packing a hell of punch in front of goal, and is usually among the most committed players on the pitch when his team his in a tight fight.

Fellah has definitely shown that he might be ready for greater things, but might have to wait a season before he gets his big chance abroad.

Hammer blow: Mohammed Fellah proved that he packs a hell of punch in this year’s game against Viking F.K.

Should any names be added to this list? Leave your comment.