Rumori di Spogliatoio

Estonian internationals transfer window Winter 2013-14

Angelo PalmeriComment

In this lists all the players that were involved in transfer negotiations, trials or who declared they are looking for a club abroad.

Internationals not included in this list are staying at their clubs.

Full stories developed after the lists.

Who stays/goes abroad
Joel Lindpere (MF) goes to Banik Ostrava, CZE (contract till 30th of June 2016)
Sergei Mośnikov (MF) goes to FC Kaisar Kyzylorda (KAZ)
Henrik Ojamaa (FW) stays at Legia Warsaw, POL (contract till 30th of June 2016)
Henri Anier (FW) stays at Motherwell FC, SCO (contract till 30th of June 2016)
Artur Kotenko (GK) goes to
Shaktar Soligorsk, BLW (contract till 31st of December 2014)
Sander Puri(MF) stays at York City FC, ENG (contract till June 2015)
Vladimir Voskoboinikov (FW) is set to leave Estonian club Nõmme Kalju FC to go on loan to an unspecified Chinese club.
Sergei Zenjov (FW) stays at FC Karpaty Lviv, UKR
Tarmo Kink (MF) signs with Hungarian club Kapsvar Rakoczi.
Rimo Hunt (FW) goes to FC Kaisar Kyzylorda (KAZ, contract for one year)

Who stays in/returns to Estonia
Ken Kallaste (DF) stays at Kalju
Taavi Rähn (DF) signed with Flora
Dmitri Kruglov (MF) stays at Levadia
Artjiom Artjunin (DF) has prolonged his contract with Levadia until 30th of December 2014
Mikk Reintam (DF) has joined FC Nõmme Kalju (1 year contract with option)
Martin Vunk (MF) was not offered contract in Kazakhstan, but instead of staying at Sillamäe, he decided to move to Nõmme Kalju.
Raio Piiroja (DF) returns to FC Flora



Unsure
Aleksandr Dmitrjev (MF) is testing with his former club Neman Grodno (BLR)


Free agents in search of a club
Hannes Anier (FW), former OB Odense, looking for club abroad


End of career
Andres Oper (FW) last club Nea Salamis Famagusta, CYP, due to injury. He will play a farewell game with Estonian national team in May (Estonia-Gibraltar).
Kaarel Kiidron (DF) former Viktoria Zizkov, CZE, apparently quits his playing career to take on the challenge as Tammeka Tartu team, equipment and tournament manager. 


Sure Thing

One of the national team goalkeepers, Artur Kotenko, has changed club in Belarus as he moved from Dnepr Mogiljev to Shaktar Soligorsk (one year contract until the end of 2014).

On Eto'o's tracks to become big

Youth international, Aleksei Belov (a 1992-born former Narva Trans) had been testing at the Anzhi Makhachkala training camp.  The club confirmed the information leaked earlier on Estonian media, however no contract was offered by Eto'o's former club.
'I have big impressions upong arriving at this high-profile club' had declared the youngster. However nothing of Anzhi previous flair can be seen this season since the Daghestan Republic club is bottom of the Russian Premier League with a mere 8-point tally.
From Calista, Turkey, he had added: 'I wouldn't look forward to what will happen after the trial, being here is already a great chance of development for my profession and skills' at the end of the testing period he was promised to be invited to the summer preparation. Belov declared he is free agent and looking for a club not excluding he would stay in Estonia
.

 

Soap-opera Lindpere, a transfer market story

Joel Lindpere's transfer soap opera has finally come to an end as the Banik Ostrava website announced they have signed the 32-year-old midfielder former Chicago Fire (MLS, USA).
The contract is until the 30th of June 2016, a period within which, declared the club, they should already be back into European competitions. Banik Ostrava at the moment is struggling in the Gambrinus Liga drop-zone.
The contract has a prolongment option.

When Lindpere's contract ended at Fire, he was not picked up by any club at the MLS draft and was included in the so-called 're-entry draft' where usually the senior players are put for being picked up by MLS who might be interested.
Later on (start of January) he said that he received an offer from a NASL club however he turned it down. The club name was never revealed, however, according to Empire of Soccer, he was in talks with New York Cosmos (in the NASL) and the it did not go anywhere due to to excessive salary requests.

When the future was not clear, he statated that he would have stayed unemployed until a better offer would have come without ruling out the option to return to Estonia if needed (he had been training with 2012 Champions Nõmme Kalju)

He was also rumoured to join his former coach at Flora and at the national team, Dutchman Arno Pijpers, at Kazakhistan club, FK Taraz ''I will likely talk more about this with Arno'' declared the 32-year-old midfielder. He spent a week in Kazakhstan before the official
announcement from Banik came. Joel had already been on trial at Banik Ostrava (Gambrinus Liga, top tier) during the second week of January.
Due to an injury he has returned to Estonia. On returning, he said to the Banik Ostrava website that he had a good impression of the club.
František Komňacký, head coach of Banik, declared he is a very good player.

Lindpere in Banik's jersey during his trial at the Czech club (fcb.cz)

Lindpere in Banik's jersey during his trial at the Czech club (fcb.cz)

There were news in Greek portal skygoal.gr (10th of January) that Joel was very close to sign with Olympiacos Volou (Football league, second tier of Greek football system).
In 2011 the club was involved in
'Koriopolis' a match fixing scandal and demoted from Greek SuperLeague (top tier). Currently, they are on the first spot of the table of the first group (the 2nd tier is divided into groups). The offer was made invalid by Volou as they learnt Lindpere was interested in going at other clubs.

While  in Kazhakstan on trial at FK Taraz, it seemed he was becoming popular in the Borat's country. Apparently, FC Tobol from Qostanaj city had bid for the 32-years-old international.
Too late as Joel will spend the end of the 2013-14 season in Czech Republic.
Banik have been Czech Champions only once (2004) and their best results in European competitions date back to the end of 70's (a semifinal in defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1979).

The Gambrinus Liga is on the winter break. Banik are in the drop-zone (15/16) and the season will resume on the 22nd of February with a complicated home tie against Viktoria Plzen (second on the table).


Postcard from Lviv

Sergei Zenjov
(Karpaty Lviv, Ukraine) is looking for another club in January.
After 6 years in Lviv, he is ready to take new challenges. His contract expires in summer however his preference is to change club during the January transfer windows: ”they would like me to prolong the contract, however I have the same wish of changing club as I expressed in the summer”. It was a positive season for Zenjov recovering from an injury as he managed to play 16 games the Ukrainian Premier Liga and score 5 goals. His return was also vital to the national team where he has contributed with 2 goals out of 3 friendly games and a great performance in the 2-2 vs. Holland.


UK rumours ended

York City FC midfielder, Sander Puri, was put in a list of possible players departing Yorkshire in the winter transfer window by Yorkpress.com.
YCFC coach, Northern Irish Nigel Worthington, declared to press: “We are looking at some players to leave permanently rather than on loan because that’s fairer for the players and the club, but the club has to come first before anybody leaves.”
However the former Northern-Ireland coach did not name the Estonian left winger as a possible candidate. The local press speculation might be induced by the scarce use Worthington made of Puri, also due to several injuries that affected the international. Sander himself declared to RdS that he likes to be in York but he is indeed annoyed at the series of injuries that prevented him from playing with continuity. On deadline day Nigel Worthington declared: ''
There won’t be anything happening (today). I will be honest and say we have done everything we were going to do. I have told the players they will be the ones that move us forward until the end of the season, so they can get their heads down and give the club and supporters everything they can by going out and enjoying their football.”


Kink back to Hungary

Tarmo Kink
(former Györ ETO, Hungary) is officially a Kaposvar Rakoczi player (Hungarian bottom-of-the-table club.
After agreeing with Varese (Italian Serie B club) to let him go, Tarmo became free to look for another club without the burden of a big transfer fee (350,000€ according to TM.de for a 28-year-old player on the 31st of January).
His intention was not to stay in Estonia at Kalju, where he's been training (check here under 'Kalju news')


The 'RdS' impression was that there was no space in Varese's squad for him as coach Gautieri has his own set XI.

Even if Varese would have sold Lazaar, the left flanker who rose interest of SSC Napoli, the Moroccan flanker would still stay at Varese to complete the season and then would move in the summer (the negotiations for this player are ongoing)

Varese Sport Director said they want to cash from selling players and they are not going to loan them out for free any longer. However, in front of Tarmo's will they preferred to let go a player with no hope of being fielded regularly and hard to locate at any club before the transfer deadline (31st of January)

Tarmo was on loan to 
Györ ETO (Hungary, top flight) until Christmas however, due to a clause in his contract he was not well aware of, he had already reached about 1,480 minutes of play, close to the limit of 1,500 agreed Varese. If Györ were to use Kink over that limit, they should have paid according to the additional minutes however, the Hungarian preferred not use Kink any longer.

The options on the table were two: either Varese would have managed to sell him abroad (though the deadline approached too soon without any valid solution in view) or Kink and his agent would have asked for the contract annulment.

The latter option, the easiest, was the one they managed to find an agreement with the club.

Kink said to the press he was not given enough time to prove himself at Varese as the club (as any other club in Italy) is always under pressure on delivering results.
However, looking back at his stint at Varese, there few tactical issues that rose the previous coach concern (you can find a story about his period at Varese here).

A common issue for many Estonian players who approached 'calcio', read more about this topic from Angelo Palmeri for Õhtuleht, 'From Pareiko to Liivak: the untold story of Estonians in Italian football'

 


Reintam back home
 

Mikk Reintam returned to Estonia to play at FC Nõmme Kalju, 2013 runners-up in the Estonian top-flight (Premium Liiga). Back in 2013, he declared he wanted to try himself at a higher level therefore he did not renew his contract with JJK Jyväskyla (Finland). He might not be wrong as, according to IFFHS, Premium Liiga has been better than Finnish Veikkausliiga in 2013. The Estonian top-flight rose from 59th place to 54th in 2013, whereas Veikkausliiga dropped from 57th to 84th.
Whether reliable or not, Reintam will have to prove wrong a lot of negative reviews received in Finland and the negative trials had meanwhile since he left JJK Jyväskylä.
 
Reintam tested at Slovakian club Spartak Trnava (Corgoň Liga, top tier) during the second week of January. However, he did not make an impact there as no contract was offered.
Same story at MSK Zilina as the head coach said he is not better than local players therefore they did not offer him a contract.


Legends retiring (or not).

Raio Piiroja (Chengu Blades FC, China) will most probably quit professional football after the injury picked up in October against Turkey in a World Cup qualifier. The former national team captain said he will try again in spring. The possibility that he might play a last game at the end of March as a 'farewell game' when Estonia will take on Gibraltar for the first time it is ruled out. Meanwhile though, FC Flora announced to have signed him for season 2014.

The game against Gibraltar in May will rather be the Andres Oper farewell game as the legendary striker has announced he will retire with a press conference on the 4th of February. Raio declared to Estonian press he will not make up his mind about his career before the summer.
The  Estonia-Gibraltar game in May, it will be the debut game of the new Swedish coach,
Magnus Pehrsson at the A.LeCoq Stadium.


Ojamaa's Hot Autumn

Henrik Ojamaa life at Legia Warsaw has been going through an helter-skelter of ups and downs which eventually ended up positively for the Estonian striker.

In November Polish media reported news of a scuffle taking place after a game in the dressing room  between him and a teammate who tried to hit the young Estonian forward: teammates had to interject to separate the two.
One player, Tomas Brzyski, said Ojamaa does not understand how to play football at all.
Most accusations aimed at Ojamaa being a selfish player. Even a former Polish national team player, Kazimierz Wegrzyn, spoke his opinion about Ojamaa: ''he's like the classic headless knight. He is a bit arrogant. If head coach Urban and teammates have not managed to explain him he must pass the ball, then bringing him to Legia did not make the squad stronger''.
Urban (who in the meantime was replaced with Norwegian coach Henning Berg) admitted there were communication problems with Henrik.
Tarmo Rüütli (former Estonian national team coach), declared Henrik is not an easy guy indeed and you normally need to talk to him more than with others and in a different way, said the 59-year-old coach.
In a long interview given to Postimees
he declared that all episodes about physical challenges brought by teammates were a press make-up and nothing really happened. Henrik also said that none of his teammates ever took the topic with him about his performances. In an interview to Legia website, he said he clearly does not like people trying to tell stories to journalists behind his back.

Despite all these talks, Henrik managed to really prove himself useful to the team.

In a game against Krakow that Legia managed to win 3-1 (December), he was able to give three assists for the three goals. He later on declared to sport.interia.pl about others having a negative opinion about him ''to be honest, I don't care much about what others are thinking about my game. I cannot help if someone does not like my style of playing and their opinion does not influnce me.''

Has the situation improved? It seems so as 2014 started with the Legia homepage praising Henrik with these words: ''He is a 100% professional'' wrote the club's main page ''he exploits every free moment either to improve his skills or learn Polish. We are on your side Henrik!''

Nice words that seem to have solved any issue related to his situation as Legia pushed away any hypothesis of transfer in January.

Additionally, Urban is not the Legia Warsaw coach any longer since December 2013.
Henrik confirmed that there were several misunderstandings with him before he left. Nothing to worry about any longer as the club got rid of the 51-year-old coach to appoint Norwegian Henning Berg. The club explained the dismissal because of “divergent views on the development of the club in the coming years”.

Ojamaa revealed that upon greeting the squad, Urban told Henrik's teammates not to try and change his style of play rather get used to and try to exploit it.

The coach had to bow to the 'headless knight'.


A Scottish-Norwegian entente

Henri Anier  was on loan from Norway (Viking Stavanger) to Motherwell (Scotland) and the contract was due to end on the 16th of January 2014, the two clubs managed to find an agreement and Henri was purchased by the Steelers.

Considering the nice stint he had in Scotland, everything had been hinting at him prolonging his stay in the UK.

However, 'Well head coach, Stuart McCall, had stated back in 2013 that the club had been facing financial problems ''the problem is with our budget. We have two guys on loan - Anier and Lainsworth (English right winger - A.P.) - and I don't know which of them will stay''. In the end both of them stayed at the Fir Park club.

It was also Viking intentions to sell Anier, as confirmed by words spoker by Arne Larsen Okland,  The only chance for Henri to stay in Scotland was indeed an agreement between the two clubs.

Notwithstanding 'Well's financial troubles, the Scottish club managed to offer a deal to the young Estonian striker which reflected the words released by Henri's agent earlier than the 10th of January, date of the signing: ''it is very possible that Motherwell might offer him a contract'' declared the Finnish agent, Jonne Lindblom, to Estonian press few days before the signing. ''They wish he would continue with them in Scotland and I think they will offer a contract. Not until the end of the season but something like 1,5 or 2,5 years lenght'' revealed the CEO of Golden Star Management (among others, he represents also Rimo Hunt, Henrik Ojamaa and Finnish midfielder Mika Väyrynen).

On the 10th of January news broke on Motherwell website that Henri had indeed signed a contract for 2,5 years. As Lindblom stated earlier ''If we consider he is a regular starter at Motherwell and he is scoring goals, it would be really a pity to change club now'' concluded Lindblom.

Words echoed by Henri's declaration after the signing, obviously full of satisfaction for staying at the club: ''I am really happy things are tied up and my long-term future is sorted out'' said the 23-year-old forward ''I really enjoy it in Scotland, the physicality of the game and how high-tempo it is. It’s quick and technically good too''. In the end the former Sampdoria Primavera player concluded: ''My aim now is to try and score as many goals as I can for Motherwell and hopefully finish as high up the table as possible''

A full interview to Henri it's available at Motherwell TV on YouTube followed by some of his goals scored at 'Well in an exclusive playlist prepared for RdS readers.


The Younger Anier

Henri's brother, Hannes (U-21 international and previously at OB Odense, Denmark, and now without a contract) tested with the Finnish Champions, HJK Helsinki at start of December (as confirmed by the club
homepage). However, the HJK Sporting Director, Mr. Saarnio, declared that the Finnish Champions won't sign the 20-year-old Estonian striker as he was really not what they were looking for. At the end of September 2013 Hannes was already on a trial in Scotland at Partick Thistle, however no contract was offered either. Banik Ostrava, the same club where Joel Lindpere has signed a contract for, have made an offer to Hannes 'the offer was made' declared Hannes to Postimees 'however I have not put my signature on the contract yet. There are some points I don't agree with and that need to be discussed'.

Eesti Koondis debutant off to Kazakhstan

Rimo Hunt
, finally moved abroad. The speculations were already admitted by the Levadia webpage at the end of 2013 and several trials abroad followed.
He declared to RdS back in November: ''At the moment no concrete offers. If they will come, I will think about it. It will be a very big decision for me to take. At the moment I have no idea whether, how and when I am going to play elsewhere outside Estonia. Of course I’d like to play in a World top league but honestly talking, I am a bit too old for that (Rimo is 28-years-old – A.P.). Let’s see what happens, the conditions will be very important for my move.''  Conditions that probably he found suitable in the 'land of Borat'. However it would be improper to remind this remote land just for the popular movie by Sacha Baron Cohen. Kazakhstan hit the healines when Shakhtar Kharagandy managed to scare Celtic FC in the Champions League play-offs bordering the greatest feat ever for a club from that country: reaching the group stage of the most important club competition. Shakhtar Kharagandy will be one of the opponents that Rimo will face in 2014.

What were the trials made by Rimo Hunt before signing?

On  the 9th of December, he went to Poland for a trial at a Ekstraklasa club TS Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała which, on that moment was on the 15th spot of the Ekstraklasa table. The test went positively as Grzegorz Wiezik, a club legend and talent scout, declared: ''he's got something, he scored a lot of goals (22 - A.P.) in the end of season''. Rimo instead was not very happy of his performance as, after the end of season, he basically didn't train at all (except for PR event of the Brazuca presentation
. It seemed that the Polish club had concretely offered a contract to Rimo who refused: ''Poland, dodgy country!'' he said straight forward to Estonian press ''I didn't really wish to go there. The coach did not speak neither English nor Russian, everything was explained in Polish. It would be hard to settle in such an environment''. Hopefully the English level in Kazakhstan will be adequate to his needs.

In December Rimo also traveled to Israel for a trial but no concrete offer was made.

He made a trial in Germany at
SV Elversberg (3.Liga club, third tier) against Kaiserslautern (0-4 for the latter - below tweet from the German club)

German press informed later on that Rimo got injured during the test at Elversberg.

Hunt one-to-one against Dinamo St.Petersburg goalkeeper, nr.29 on his back (YouTube outtake)

Hunt one-to-one against Dinamo St.Petersburg goalkeeper, nr.29 on his back (YouTube outtake)

In a interview with Postimees, Rimo declared the injury was not so serious.
The talk was also a chance for Rimo to clarify what were his intentions of moving abroad: ''in Czech Republic they offered me a contract for 1,5 years. However I wanted a loan contract for just 6 months'' he revealed that he did not wish to move for longer period as he is looking forward for other offers during the summer when form will be better (in Estonia is pre-season time at the moment) and at the same time family reasons seemed to prevent him from taking such a long-term decision.
Against all odds he decided to move for one year in a quite remote land.

Good luck to RdS Best Player of 2013 as chosen by readers.
In the following video (from minute 3:57) it is possible to see Rimo Hunt and Sergei Mośnikov in action against Dinamo St. Petersburg (side in blue jerseys). Hunt is number 29 and has a great chance on one-to-one against goalkeeper at minute 4:33.


An Army of Trialists

                                                                                                     Next to leave?

                                                                                                     Next to leave?

Dmitri Kruglov is always set to receive an offer from abroad to leave Levadia where he will continue only if that offer will not arrive. He told to Estonian press that his target is to go back to Russia. Meanwhile he has been playing with Levadia in the winter friendly indoor tournament.

Two veterans who returned to Estonia have been seeking for an abroad contract: Aleksandr Dmitrijev (Levadia) is testing at his former club, Neman Grodno (BLR) as confirmed by Kick-Off.By.

Martin Vunk (Sillamäe Kalev) tested for a while in Kazakhstan at FK Taraz where, an old acquaintance of Estonian football, has been hired as head coach: Dutchman Arno Pijpers, Estonian national team coach from 2000 till 2005. Media sources in Kazakhstan revealed that Taraz did not offer him a contract in the end.
Despire being offered an opportunity at Levadia and to continue with Sillamäe, Vunk decided to move to Nõmme Kalju


Former FF Jaro (FIN) Taavi Rähn seems not to be bond anymore with Arno Pijpers' FK Taraz. He has played a friendly game with Flora against Levadia. However, he declared to Estonian press that there is nothing to talk about: ''they had several players away with the U-21, since I was training with them already, then I played''.
However, he's been fielded also against HJK Helsinki and Brondby IF. Against FC Lahti he was given a start.
In a post-match interview with Delfi.ee after losing 3-0 to Brondby, Rähn admitted that he was going to decide in the last weeks of February before the season starts.
At last, the news broke that Flora had signed him.

Ken Kallaste (Nõmme Kalju, 2 caps in the Eesti Koondis and son of legendary Risto Kallaste) was object of interest from an unspecified club of Bundesliga.2 at the end of 2013 . The player got injured at the traditional Aastalõputurniir and was back at the end of January. He will most likely stay at Kalju.

Polish club Gornik Zabrze did not renew Sergei Mõsnikov‘s contract. The 25-year-old midfielder was for a while without a club and had been testing with Kyzylorda Kaisar, Kazakhstan club newly promoted to the top league (Superliga). Upong returning from the triel, he had been  training with Flora. Finally, it was announced that he was signed by FC Kaisar.

Debutant Artjom Artjunin (Estonian Champion with Levadia) has been testing with Kazakhistan klub FC Kaisar. His contract was nonetheless extended ny Levadia until the end of 2014. It is very likely he will stay at the Estonian Champions.

U-23 player Kaarel Kiidron left Viktoria Źiźkov (Narodni Liga, second division of Czech football system) in January. He announced himself on Twitter.

The news came almost unexpected at the end of February when Estonian top flight club, Tammeka Tartu, announced Kaarel was taking on the role of team, equipment and tournament manager at the club where he was a player few years ago. Regarding his playing career, he told Soccernet he did not confirm that he is going to quit his playing career. Karel is only 23-years-old and has collected one cap in the Estonian national team against Croatia .

Sources: Soccernet.ee, Õhtuleht.ee, Postimees.ee, Päevaleht.ee, Delfi.ee, Twitter