As Round three of the 2012/13 Ekstraklasa opened on Friday, the country’s transfer window was slowly creaking to a close. A few small surprises were made during the final week, and here are just a pick of those transfers – as well as a few that didn’t quite happen as expected.
The Hero Returns
First they were linked with Excelsior’s Dutch striker Luigi Bruins, and then it was 24-year old Abiola Dauda from Swedish side Kalmar. With the transfer deadline slowly looming on the horizon, Lech Poznań’s search for a striker seemed to be in vain. But then, almost out of nowhere, Piotr Reiss turned up at Ulica Bułgarska.
They say you should never go back, but since starting his senior career with the Kolejorz back in 1990, this marks the 40-year old’s fourth spell at the club – and to say he is a Lech Poznań legend is a bit of an understatement. Making over 300 appearances in the blue and white of Lech, as well as scoring over 100 goals in the process, his return to Lech from cross-city rivals Warta is sure to be welcomed by the fans – but probably not for what he’ll be able to offer the club as they battle for the Ekstraklasa title.
The Bulgarian Beast
It hasn’t been the best few years for Bulgarian defender Aleksandar Tunchev – although adored by the fans at Leicester City, his four year spell at the club was marred by a series of injuries which limited him to just 26 appearances for the Foxes. A tear to his right anterior cruciate ligament in early 2009 saw him miss the club’s successful promotion from League One; and on his return, another injury – this time to the left knee – saw him miss out until 2011.
As the 2011-12 season kicked off the Bulgarian international found himself on loan at Crystal Palace, where ten appearances helped him back to full fitness. But on his return to the East Midlands, a groin injury again left Tunchev watching from the sidelines.
In his limited appearances at Leicester, Tunchev quickly emerged as a fan-favourite. His towering presence and no-nonsense style of defending earned him many plaudits amongst the Filbert Way faithful. If Zagłębie Lubin can keep him fit and healthy, the 31-year old will prove to be a fantastic piece of business from Pavel Hapal.
Although it happened before Transfer Deadline Day, the effects of Andraz Kirm‘s loan move to Eredivisie club FC Groningen were visible on Friday as Wisła Kraków fell to a 3-1 home defeat against Polonia Warszawa. With the Slovenian midfielder rejoining his former Wisła manager Robert Maaskant in the Netherlands, the Biała Gwiazda midfield – also missing an injured Maor Melikson – were crowded out by their opponents from the capital for large parts of the game.
After talks between Wisła and Groningen seemed to have stalled over who would pay the player’s wages for the duration of the season-long loan, Kirm’s three-year spell in Kraków is now likely to be over as the two clubs agreed a loan-to-buy clause in the deal.
No Calcio for Legia Pair
Despite two of their players being linked with moves to Italy ahead of the deadline, Ekstraklasa title hopefuls Legia Warszawa will breathe a sigh of relief that they have managed to keep a hold of their squad until winter at least.
Young midfielder Michał Zyro was linked with a late move to two-time Italian Champions Lazio, following his impressive performances over the last 12 months. Having previously been linked with German club Hannover, there has been a lot of interest in the 19-year old, but any talk of a move was eventually proved false as no official bid was made to the Wojskowi.
There was also talk that Legia’s defender Artur Jędrzejczyk would be on his way to Italy after Genoa made a €1 million bid for the full-back. Legia initially rejected the Italian bid for the 24-year old but were expected to finalise a deal following their disappointing Europa League exit to Rosenborg. However as the transfer deadline passed a deal failed to materialise, and Jędrzejczyk played a full 90 minutes for Legia against Podbeskidzie on Monday.
Time running out???
When Górnik Zabrze paid Bogdanka Łęczna 1 million złotys for Burkina Faso international Prejuce Nakoulma, their plan was to sell him on straight away to help alleviate the massive debts at the club. However, despite tests at French side Lorient, and rumoured interest from Spanish side Real Zaragoza, a deal has so far failed to materialise.
Russian club Terek Grozny have so far been the only club to have offered Górnik 6 million złotys for Nakoulma – which the club have accepted; however the Burkinabe isn’t interested in a move eastwards. There is also rumoured interest from Trabzonspor of Turkey, whose transfer window doesn’t close until tomorrow (Wednesday 5th) night; and with the French window still open until tonight (Tuesday 4th), there is still a chance of Górnik making a massive profit on the 25-year old before the window completely slams shut. However with Nakoulma in his home country for the African Nations Qualifiers this week, it looks as though he’ll be remaining in Górny Śląsk for the foreseeable future.