Bayer 04 Leverkusen have responded to the transfer loss of German international Andre Schürrle in a most positive fashion. After the talented attacker signed with Chelsea FC. Leverkusen added HSV’s prolific attacker Heung-Min Son. In addition to the Son signing, Leverkusen have reached out and brought in Inter Milan youngster Giulio Donati and creative attacker Robbie Kruse from Fortuna Düsseldorf. Fortuna, demoted after a fine start to their Bundesliga season, are in the process of building a team to bounce back from second division play and in doing so have inked young talents Giannis Gianniotas and Christian Gartner, while Werder Bremen look to snap up a replacement for departed Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Donati and Kruse to Die Werkself
Giulio Donati, 23, signed a four-year contract with Leverkusen earlier this week for a 3 million euro transfer fee. The Inter Milan right back played on loan this season to US Grosseto in Serie B. The previous two seasons Donati has been loaned to Padova and Lecce, and has featured a total of 70 senior squad matches in Italian league play, though did not feature in a match for Inter. The 5’10” defender also starred at the recently concluded UEFA U-21 tournament in Israel, and has almost 30 caps for Italian national youth sides. Leverkusen will hope to replicate the success experienced with last year’s right back signing, Daniel Carvajal, who was bought back by Real Madrid per a clause in his contract.
Said Leverkusen’s Sporting Director Rudi Voller stated that his club had
signed a player with unbelievable potential. Donati is a mainstay of the U-21 side, gained himself a lot of match experience in Serie B and didn’t just impress us because of his strong performances in Israel. Giulio will bring us a lot of delight in the future
Schürrle scored 11 goals and added six assists last season for Die Werkself in league play last season, as well as creating 186 scoring chances. The signing of Robbie Kruse should help ease some of that loss. The Brisbane-born forward came signed with Fortuna Düsseldorf prior to the 2011/2012 season after A League success with the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory. The pacy 24 year-old has featured in 41 league games for F95 over the last two seasons.
In his first seasons in the Bundesliga after F95’s promotion, Kruse notched four goals with six assists, and was a sparkplug going forward for Norbert Meier’s team. Starting 29 matches this past season, Kruse played over 2500 league minutes while creating 82 scoring chances. He picked up 9 yellow cards and commited 36 fouls, but drew over 100 fouls against him from opponents. In 128 first-team matches in all competitions in Germany and Australia, the feisty Kruse has scored 27 goals with 25 assists. He has also represented Australia on 25 occasions, scoring three goals for the Socceroos.
Düsseldorf Add Two Youngsters
Kruse’ former team look to make the jump back to the German top-flight under new coach Mike Büskens. To aid that effort, F95 have signed 20 year-old Giannis Gianniotas from Greek club Aris Salonika and 19 year-old Austrian midfielder Christian Gartner.
Giannotas joined Aris as a youngster in 2008, and was promoted to the Thessalonika-based club’s first team in 2011. He played in 45 Greek Super League matches for Aris, scoring eight times. The 5’9″ winger is currently with the Greeks in the U=20 World Cup and came in a substitute Saturday in Greeks 2-1 win over Mexico in Kaiserslautern. He will join F95 following the tournament and is notable for his speed and agility as well as his ability to play either wing or up top. He inked a 3 year deal with Düsseldorf.
Gartner also signed with F95 for three years. He arrives from SV Mattersburg, where he played his youth football and has featured in 28 matches for the senior squad in the Austrian Bundesliga, scoring three times. Garnter has also represented Austria on 30 occasions for various national youth sides. He is considered one of the top young talents in Austria.
Werder Bremen look to bring in their own young Inter Milan defender. According to kicker, the north Germans are close to signing 6’2″ central defender Luca Caldirola. His rights are co-owned by Inter and Cesena, and a 3 million euro transfer fee is rumored to be in order.
The 23 year-old played in Serie B last season at Brescia. Like Donati, he never featured for Inter but has also played on loan in Netherlands for Vitesse as well as for Cesena in Italy. The young Italian has played at all levels of the Italian national youth squads, with 30 caps for the Italian U-21s among his nearly 70 youth appearances, and was named to the UEFA U-21 All-Star squad following the tournament in Israel. Caldirola would hopefully be able to replace the departed central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who signed with Borussia Dortmund last month.
Hertha Berlin announced the contract extension of central defender John Anthony Brooks, 20, through June, 2017. The tall German-American has come up in his hometown club’s youth system and was a regular for the promoted side last season, starting 26 matches while heading in a goal and not drawing a card in over 2200 minutes of league play.
And finally, Pep Guardiola officially takes over as coach at Bayern Munich on Monday.
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