Friday, 20 July 2007

More transfer moves

After a quiet week on the transfer front, Friday saw the arrival of a goalkeeper already legendary for his penalty saving antics in the 2005 Champions League final and the departure of a central defender who has been at the club since 1999 and has winners medals for, among others, 2 Champions League and 3 Spanish league titles.

Jerzy Dudek will surely not be expecting a great deal of change in his circumstances. He has been warming the bench at Liverpool for the best part of two seasons wince his pivotal role in that Champions League win in Istanbul back in 2005. Rafa Benítez has preferred Pepe Reina over him and there's virtually no expectation that Schuster will prefer him over Casillas. Curiously enough, Reina is the second choice goalkeeper in the Spanish national squad, behind Casillas.

However, the departure of Diego López to Villareal left Real Madrid without a quality replacement goalkeeper. Unless Casillas gets injured, it's unlikely Dudek will get many chances to play except in the Copa del Rey or any low-risk (whatever that means) Champions League ties. At 34, he is still young enough in goalkeeping terms for several years at the top level. Perhaps he'll yet get his chance to shine.

Iván Helguera, on the other hand, is a couple of years younger than Dudek, but many feel he has less time left at the top. What he lacks in speed he makes up in his awareness and positioning, and has a knack for scoring a few headers per season. After a torrid time in 2006 where he barely played, circumstances gave him another chance which he grabbed with both hands. His contribution at the back last season was extremely valuable and helped Real to their 30th league title.

The club has tried to make up for the tough times he faced when he was stripped of his shirt number and was forced to train with the youth team players. His contract had an incentive clause that would guarantee him a 1 million euro bonus if he completed 45 minutes or more in 30 games during the season. His unfortunate injury a few weeks before the end of the season left him 13 minutes short of the requirement, but the club waived the requirement and paid him his bonus. In today's move to Valencia, Real Madrid has allowed him to go for free, even though he still had two years left on his contract. Obviously there's a certain amount of good business sense here, given that two new central defenders have been signed in the past week and Helguera was unlikely to get much playing time, especially if Cannavaro stays put at Real Madrid.


G said...

is javi garcia leaving? I see a bunch of teams are interested. I hope we can keep him

Gonzalo said...

Javi García only has a year left to run on his contract and he's not been asked the join the first team for preseason training in Austria. It's a fair bet he'll be moving on, even though there's an offer on the table for him to renew his contract, but the question is where. I don't tend to post on speculation from the press on this sort of thing because it changes from one day to the next, but right now they're saying Atlético, Getafe, Mallorca, Deportivo, and even Liverpool are interested.

G said...

cool thanks. I guess the midfield is a bit too crowded for him to stick around anyway