As with every other league in the world, the Serbian super league experiences the Annual Summer Transfer Rumour Chitter-Chatter. Last week the Titus Bramble To Red Star story was doing the rounds – nothing has come of that so far (shock) – but nothing more exciting than that has turned up recently.
Red Star have been linked with Azubuike Egwuekwe, a towering centre back from Nigeria’s Confed Cup squad. Such a signing would surely put paid to the Bramble rumours – alas – especially considering that Red Star have already brought Peruvian centre back Miguel Araujo Blanco to the club. Egwuekwe is a pretty decent prospect, and a player of his class will surely stand out in the Serbian league, so this would be a great piece of business for Red Star.
Meanwhile, it looks as if Stefan Šćepović of Partizan could be on his way to Spain to join Sporting Gijon. Stefan’s younger brother Marko, also at Partizan, has himself been linked with a transfer to foreign climes, so this is something that might make such a move more likely, although this is very much conjecture.
Interestingly, two Japanese footballers, Keisuke Ogawa and Shohei Okuno, are on trial at Sloboda Užice, a regional club from the west of Serbia.
So, a thrilling round-up there, as you can see. When something more exciting happens, I’ll be sure to let you know. Fingers crossed for the Bramble deal.
This isn’t the first time that rumours have emerged of some money being chucked around before the 1991 European Cup final, but the former Red Star and AC Milan winger Dejan Savićević has now claimed that he, Miodrag Belodedić, and Robert Prosinečki were offered 500,000 deutsche marks in order to fix the match. According to Savićević himself, some “agents” were willing to pay that sum in order to ensure the aforementioned players’ co-operation, but received short shrift from the Yugoslav footballers.
Red Star went on to win the final on penalties, but their opposition that night, Bernard Tapie’s Marseille, would go on to “enjoy” having their head honcho exposed as a criminal and a match-fixer. Two seasons later, Marseille were stripped of their 1993 French league win, but not their European triumph of the same year.
In related news, it was today announced that Tapie will have hundreds of millions of euro seized from his bank accounts. Throwing a couple of deutsche marks at a few footballers was the least of his crimes, it seems.
According to Serbian news agency B92, there is a possibility that Titus Bramble could be on his way to Belgrade. As noted on the aforementioned agency’s site, Red Star are suffering a pretty gaping lack of central defenders, especially since the departures of Uroš Ćosić and Srđan Mijailović. All things considered though, this would be a pretty regressive step for Zvezda, given their normal focus on youth development (though not to the same extent/success as Partizan) and the age of the player in question.
Much-maligned Titus is not actually as bad a footballer as he’s made out to be, and would probably be one of the best centre-backs in the Serbian league if he did join, but is this a direction in which the club really wants to go? I’m pretty certain that Titus’ wages would be vastly in excess of the average salary in the league, and might be better invested in facilities or an increased youth drive. Considering the nature of Serbian football, Zvezda need to think more about catching Partizan in those departments. In this country, youth development and the reselling of players is the key to financial/footballing success, not the costly import of half-decent defenders in their fourth decade of life.
This would be an expensive and short-sighted fix for a bigger problem, but I wouldn’t put it past the club’s management to use it. That said, it’s more than likely that nothing will come of this, so I should probably stop writing now.