Homecomings and fresh horizons
As FIFA.com reports in the latest of its weekly round-ups, the transfer market shows no signs of slowing down. One reason for that is the imminence of the European domestic season, with several big names returning to where it all began and others seeking fresh challenges.
Among those on the move are two Chelsea old boys who should have little difficulty settling into their new surroundings. After collecting UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona and Porto, Portugal midfielder Deco has returned to his native Brazil to sign for Fluminense. Meanwhile Ricardo Carvalho, a long-standing team-mate of Deco’s for club and country, is harbouring hopes of winning Europe’s biggest club competition once more with Jose Mourinho, the former Porto man having swapped the Blues for Real Madrid.
Egyptian striker Mido is going back to his roots at Ajax Amsterdam, where he made his name before embarking on an extensive European tour that included stops at Celta Vigo, Marseille, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur and latterly West Ham United. Joining him there will be Dutch international defender Andre Ooijer, a member of the Netherlands side that came up just short at South Africa 2010. Ooijer is returning to Ajax 16 years after leaving the club’s famed youth academy and going on to become a defensive rock for fierce rivals PSV Eindhoven.
Deprived of first-team opportunities at Liverpool, Swiss defender Philipp Degen has returned to the Bundesliga with Stuttgart two years after leaving Borussia Dortmund. Argentinian duo Ernesto Farias and Gabriel Penalba have made the journey back across the Atlantic, the former moving to Cruzeiro following a three-season stint at Porto, and the latter swapping Lorient for Estudiantes. Compatriot Diego Torres is also on the move, joining newly promoted Quilmes, the club where made his debut before spending four years in the front line at Newell’s Old Boys.
Argentinian defender Guillermo Burdisso has followed in the footsteps of big brother Nicolas by joining Roma on loan, his more famous sibling having spent last season with I Giallorossi. The Rosario Central player will be crossing swords this term with gifted Brazilian midfielder Hernanes, who has rejected the advances of several other European clubs to join Lazio in the wake of Sao Paulo’s recent defeat in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.
After a promising start to his career with Corinthians, 20-year-old Brazilian prospect Lulinha has decided to further his education with unfashionable Portuguese outfit Olhanense despite the attentions of a clutch of big-name clubs. Also in search of regular first-team football is Senegalese striker Mame Biram Diouf, who has joined Blackburn Rovers on loan from Manchester United, one of the week’s many moves in the Premier League.
Aside from Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen’s arrival at Liverpool from Juventus, Trinidad and Tobago goalgetter Kenwyne Jones has left Sunderland for Stoke City, with Manchester City central defender Nedum Onuoha checking in for a loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
The returning West Bromwich Albion have snapped up Fulham full-back Nicky Shorey, while fellow new boys Blackpool have embarked on a hectic recruitment drive in a bid to protect their hard-won top-flight status, signing up five new players in the last few hours. French imports Malaury Martin, Elliot Grandin and Ludovic Sylvestre have joined the Tangerines from Monaco, CSKA Sofia and Mlada Boleslav respectively, with Manchester United youth product Craig Cathcart and former Newcastle United forward Marlon Harewood making up the quintet.
Forward Johan Audel will be trying his luck with Stuttgart after spells with four clubs in France, the last of them Valenciennes, although Slovakian striker Stanislav Sestak is leaving the Bundesliga, calling time on his stay at Bochum for a fresh start with Ankaragucu in Turkey.
Rounding up our latest signings summary are Ghanaian midfielder Stephen Appiah, who has made Serie A side Cesena the latest port of call in a career featuring spells at Parma and Juventus, and Wisla Krakow’s new centre-half Osman Chavez, a veteran of Honduras’ South Africa 2010 campaign and who joins the Poles from CD Platense.