All posts by Futbolgrad

Carlos Eduardo to Leave Rubin Kazan

Carlos Eduardo to Leave Rubin Kazan

That the January transfer window is an important time for many clubs and players, is no less true for the struggling Russian Football Premier League side Rubin Kazan. Hard times have fallen on the club this year, but after a relatively positive Europa League run, there are some funds available, and the club are expected to become active in the transfer market.

This recent upturn appears to have had no effect on outgoing transfers, however, in that Carlos Eduardo, Rubin’s €20 million record signing from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in 2010 could be set to depart the club this winter—Eduardo has been the subject of transfer speculations for more than a year now.

Having come close to a move to German side 1. FC Köln in the summer of 2015, a combination of Rubin’s new arrivals and the fact that Eduardo’s contract ends in just six months, means that his departure will likely take place during the winter. Rubin are currently looking to free up a legionnaire (as foreigners are called in Russian football) spot in their squad, as well as trying to cut down on their wage spending. Also there is the fact that this is the last time that the club would be able to cash in on Eduardo.

Another consideration is the fact that, since the start of the 2014-15 season, Kadu, as fans and friends alike affectionately know him, has become a very important player for Rubin. This was a remarkable turnaround, given the fact that Eduardo had a dreadful time at Rubin Kazan when he first joined them in 2010, and in January 2013 was loaned out to Flamengo Rio de Janeiro. But after returning from his loan spell at Flamengo in the summer of 2014, he was whipped into shape by new manager, Rinat Bilyaletdinov, and became a vital component in the Rubin team, clearly improving their quality through his amazing speed and outstanding creativity.

Carlos Eduardo has been a noticeable absence from the Rubin squad that has gathered for their first winter training camp in Portugal. A look at his social media pages shows that he has been in both Germany and Brazil, and has met with his agent on a number of occasions. The fact that the club’s two recent additions (Zenit St Petersburg’s Russian winger Denis Tkachuk and new legionnaire, Hajduk Split’s Mijo Caktaš) can play the same position as Eduardo, is further indication that Eduardo could be leaving the club.

While transfer speculation is rife, with Eduardo being linked to both of his former sides, Hoffenheim and Grêmio, there has been no concrete information so far. (Sovsport has even gone so far as to quote Eduardo denying the rumours.) A source inside the club, however, has informed Futbolgrad that his primary objective is to leave the club: “It’s possible for Kadu to stay if he cannot find a new club, but he has options in Germany and Brazil. If he does not find a club before Rubin’s training camp in Spain, then it is likely he will re-join the squad.”

Whatever happens, it appears certain that Eduardo will leave the club in the next six months. Whether Rubin are able to hang on to him until summer remains to be seen, but it is likely that the club will try to sell him in the winter in order to gain much needed financial breathing room that would allow the Tatarstani club to strengthen other areas of the team in anticipation of a tough relegation battle in the second half of the season.

By David Sansun –

Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk Circus Continues

Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk Circus Continues

This continues to be a tumultuous winter break for Ukrainian Premier League side Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk. Currently the identity of the manager is a matter of contention among the club’s officials.

In late December, Futbolgrad first reported on the developing schism between the club’s original leadership and the personnel brought in from Metalurh Donetsk. Since then, the situation has deteriorated—and become more confusing.

On January 5, Stal vice president Mykola Kolyuchiy left the club. Upon his departure, he told the media that he hoped the club’s financial situation would improve, and that all Stal players would receive their unpaid wages. He added “I also hope that the former Metalurh players who are today playing at Stal will be repaid their wages from their time at the Donetsk side, as has been promised more than once.” As the current president of Stal, Vardan Israelyan, is the former sporting director, Kolyuchiy’s comments can be interpreted as an attack on his now former club’s current leadership.

Then, on January 12, the television channel Futbol announced that head coach Volodymyr Mazyar had also left the club. Mazyar had previously announced that he would not stay at Stal if Kolyuchiy was no longer the vice president, so this news came as no surprise.

On January 16, the Dutchman Erik van der Meer was appointed Stal’s new manager. Van der Meer is a former youth coach at Metalurh Donetsk—another sign of Stal’s gradual takeover by the Metalurh faction.

On the same day, however, Stal’s attorney Serhiy Kakusha told Sport Arena that Mazyar remained at the club, and that Israelyan did not have the authority to hire a new manager. According to Kakusha, Israelyan’s only role was to provide financing, which he was failing to do. Kakusha also reiterated that Stal currently lack any financial resources and even claimed that the club has nothing to do with the ongoing training sessions in which most of Stal’s players are taking part in in preparation for the second half of the season

Also on January 16, the club’s newly appointed vice president Bohdan Napolov gave an interview in which he revealed that Israelyan had refused to meet with him to discuss the club’s future and Napolov said “today I do not see preconditions or opportunities for the continued existence of FC Stal.” This interview was published on the club’s official web site. The simple fact that Stal’s official media outlet is publishing scathing criticisms of its own president is indicative of the massive power struggle that is taking place within the club’s structure.

On Wednesday January 20, there was another twist in the tale. Napolov announced at the club’s board meeting that Israelyan was not meeting his obligations and that he was released from his duties.

Israelyan has yet to respond—and given how events have unfolded so far, it is unlikely that the board’s decision will carry any weight.

It is also worth noting that, although Stal carry the name of the city Dniprodzerzhynsk in their name, the stadium in their hometown has been undergoing renovations and they, as a result, have been playing their home matches in nearby Dnipropetrovsk. For the second half of the season they will be based near Kyiv and will split their home matches between the capital and Dnipropetrovsk and, since the above mentioned stadium renovations have now come to a halt, there is no indication that they will be returning to Dniprodzerzhynsk anytime soon.

In his analysis for Sport Arena, aptly titled “The Revenge of Metalurh Donetsk,” journalist Dmytro Kovalenko wrote that while the Stal faction has the judicial right to retain control of the club, it is Israelyan who is in direct contact with the investors and has access to the finances.

In such an absurd situation, Kovalenko writes, it would be no surprise if Stal transformed into “a second Metalurh, which will in a few years become a burden for investors and simply cease to exist.”

In spite of the protests of Kakusha and Napolov, it appears that the takeover of Stal by Israelyan and the Metalurh faction has been successful—but what the consequences will be for the club remains to be seen.

By Vadim Furmanov –

Football Leaks Exposes Zenit Saint Petersburg Transfers

Football Leaks Exposes Zenit Saint Petersburg Transfers

Football Leaks has once again released transfer details involving a post-Soviet club. On December 19 Futbolgrad reported that Quincy Promes’ deal from Twente Enschede to Spartak Moscow was a so called third-party ownership (TPO) deal. Then on December 30 Futbolgrad reported on Ismaily’s transfer from SC Braga to Shakhtar Donetsk, which involved the investment company Doyen Sports, which has increasingly come under scrutiny for its association with TPO deals.

Football Leaks has uploaded transfer details on Hulk’s move from FC Porto to Zenit—the striker moved from Portugal to Russia in September 2012 in a transfer that according to transfermarkt.de was worth €55 million (find the contract here)—as well as the transfer of the Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay—the defender was transferred from Benfica Lisbon to Zenit for €6 million in the summer of 2014 (find the contract here).

Hulk’s transfer agreement between Porto and Zenit highlights that Zenit paid a total of €40 million (in three instalments) for the player. Furthermore, Porto included a clause that would see the Portuguese club receive 10% of a future transfer if Zenit sells Hulk for more that €70 million.

The transfer also exposed the influence of Gazprom on the day to day operations of the club, as Porto requested a COMFORT LETTER from JSC Gazprom acknowledging that the gas company would guarantee the sum in question, and “acknowledges the terms and conditions of the present Transfer Agreement and assures to FC PORTO SAD the timely and total obligations of FC ZENIT established in the hereunder agreement.”

In the case of Garay’s transfer from Benfica Lisbon to Zenit, transfermarkt.de was correct in that the transfer was indeed worth €6 million. Unlike the Hulk transfer Gazprom did not need to write a guarantee, which is likely due to relatively low transfer sum.

In any case the publication of the documents in question will raise eyebrows in Saint Petersburg, as contract details are considered confidential—and Football Leaks has stated that the homepage is located on a Russian server, and the leaking of documents related to Russia’s richest club could be problematic for the page.

Football Leaks has stated that it is trying to increase transparency, and “to shed light on [third-party ownership deals] and make the often cloudy world of soccer transfers and outlawed TPO dealings more transparent. Following the FIFA scandals with Sepp Blatter, the Greek football club Olympiakos FC scandal early last year and the infamous Italian match-fixing scandals of 2006, it is a welcome step to help the world’s most beautiful game become beautiful again — on and off the pitch.” At the same time not every deal Football Leaks has exposed is controversial, but at the very least the page offers an interesting insight into how transfer deals are conducted.

By Manuel Veth –