Deals continue during world party
The emotions sparked by the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ may just be starting to subside, but football fans across the planet will doubtless be quick to fill the void. The club realm is set to occupy the limelight once again and, as thoughts turn to transfer ins and outs, FIFA.com looks back at the deals that have been grabbing headlines of late.
Events at South Africa 2010 continue to loom large in recruitment strategies throughout the game and the players themselves have been keen to exploit their raised profile by heading for pastures new. Sebastian Eguren has certainly profited from his role in Uruguay’s run to the semi-finals as he has signed for Sporting Gijon, a switch that will take him back to Spain following a six-month spell with Swedish outfit AIK Solna on loan from Villarreal. Denmark defender Simon Kjaer is on the move too, the former Palermo man electing to continue his promising career at Wolfsburg after heading into the FIFA World Cup with a number of clubs chasing his signature.
Bundesliga champions in 2008/09, Wolfsburg have parted ways with another player present at South Africa 2010 in Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins, who is heading for Russian side Rubin Kazan and his fourth European league following stints in Italy (Reggiana and Inter Milan), England (Newcastle United) and Germany. Also ready to embark on a new adventure is Mexico’s Pablo Barrera, fresh from impressing with his pace and skill on the global stage, where he won his side a penalty against France. Formerly with Pumas in the Mexican top flight, he will be looking to build on those performances with West Ham United in the Premier League.
New Zealand fell at the group stage in South Africa, but they left the tournament unbeaten and forward Shane Smeltz has ensured that his memorable summer will continue by swapping Australian club Gold Coast United for Shandong Luneng Taishan in China PR. Elsewhere, Korea DPR star Jong Tae-Se has earned himself a move to Bochum in Germany’s second tier, Algerian defender Nadir Belhadj has left Portsmouth for Al Sadd in Qatar and Portugal’s Pedro Mendes has packed his bags for Swiss side Servette after cutting ties with Sporting Lisbon. Like the latter, Eduardo Carvalho contested all four of Portugal’s games at the FIFA World Cup and he will defend the colours of Serie A outfit Genoa next term after earning plaudits before A Selecção das Quinas’s Round of 16 exit.
Not everyone was fortunate enough to partake in the FIFA World Cup festivities, of course, but that did not keep them off the radar altogether. Ukrainian defender Dmytro Chygrinskiy has rejoined Shakhtar Donetsk following a forgettable year at Barcelona, for example, and he will team up with Brazilian acquisition Walter, snapped up from Internacional. The Porto Alegre side have been particularly busy of late and, in addition to that deal, have brought striker Rafael Sobis back on loan after his unconvincing spells with Villarreal and Abu Dhabi club Al Jazira, while also releasing midfielder Rosinei to Mexican outfit America. Rosinei will now join forces with Uruguayan forward Vicente Sanchez, formerly of Schalke.
Runners-up in Germany last season, Schalke have likewise bade farewell to Peruvian defender Carlos Zambrano, loaning him to promoted side St Pauli, while Brazilian centre-back Marcelo Bordon has plumped for life with Qatari club Al Rayyan. Qatar also proved the chosen destination of Côte d'Ivoire international Kader Keita, the erstwhile Lille, Lyon and Galatasaray livewire agreeing terms with Al Sadd, and if that transfer left the Turkish giants short a former Ligue 1 player, Lorik Cana promptly restored the balance. Marseille captain until last summer, the Albanian midfielder left Sunderland behind him to join the Galatasaray cause. Elsewhere, Gala’s domestic rivals Gaziantepspor have swooped for forward Ismael Sosa, bringing him on board from Argentinian Clausura champions Argentinos Juniors, while Romanian playmaker Niculae Dica has switched Catania for Manisaspor.
Parma’s recruitment drive has taken them to Argentina, where they picked up Boca Juniors stopper Gabriel Paletta, but as one South American prepares to get to grips with the Italian game another has left, with Chilean midfielder Jaime Valdes departing Atalanta for Sporting Lisbon. As for Valdes’s compatriot Marco Estrada, he recently completed a move from Universidad de Chile to Montpellier in France, where Brazilian winger Nene has exchanged Monaco for Paris Saint-Germain. Lorient, meanwhile, have lost promising defender Laurent Koscielny to Arsenal.
Senegalese midfielder Papa Bouba Diop boasts experience of both England and France, and he is set to add another league to his list after making Greek outfit AEK Athens his new home. The capital club’s rivals Panathinaikos have bolstered their ranks too, by luring former Mallorca and Villarreal schemer Ariel Ibagaza.
Lastly, a pair of attacking talents will be hoping to prove their worth in the USA after signing for MLS clubs. In the case of Chivas USA, the new man on the books is Giancarlo Maldonado, who has enjoyed spells in his native Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile and, most recently, with Mexican side Veracruz, while Canadian franchise Toronto have placed their faith in Spanish marksman Mista, a Real Madrid academy graduate who made his name with Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna.