As the January transfer window pushes to a close on Friday night, a flurry of activity has occurred in German football. Rumors of a move for former Schalke man and German international Lewis Holtby from Tottenham and one of Schalke youngster Julian Draxler to Arsenal are have yet to materialize into actual transfers with a day remaining in the window, but German clubs have already been busy building their rosters while ridding themselves of surplus talent.
Guardado Joins Bayer Leverkusen
The Bundesliga will have a Mexican flavor once again, as international Andres Guardado comes to Leverkusen on loan for the rest of the season, with the German club having the option to buy his contract from Valencia CF. Guardado, 27. tweeted his delight in joining the 2nd place Leverkusen, saying that “the offer from Leverkusen was a great opportunity for me to start something new. The Bundesliga has a fantastic reputation in Spain.”
The 5’7″ Guardado has played in Spain since leaving Mexican club Atlas in 2007, first playing for Deportivo la Coruna before joining Valencia prior to the 2012/2013 season. Guardado has appeared in over 250 senior squad matches in Mexico and Spain, scoring 32 goals along with 47 assists. The left winger, who can also feature at left back, has earned 99 international caps with El Tri, netting 14 times, and was a member of Mexico’s 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship team. He has represented Mexico in two Gold Cup tournaments, two World Cup tournaments and the 2007 Copa America since his initial callup in 2005.
In a Bleacher Report story on Guardado’s move, columnist Michael Wade labeled the Leverkusen acquisition “a typically astute Leverkusen signing.” He’ll earn Champions League play with Leverkusen ahead of this summer’s World Cup and continues the line of Mexican internationals earning a paycheck in Germany that includes former Bundesliga champions Pavel Pardo and Ricardo Osorio, along with defender Francisco ‘Maza’ Rodriguez, all of whom played at Stuttgart.
Kvist and Molinaro Leave Stuttgart, Gruezo Joins
Midfielder William Kvist and left back Cristian Molinaro have both departed VfB Stuttgart as the transfer window draws to a close, with Kvist going on loan to Fulham FC and Molinaro joining Serie A side Parma. Meanwhile, Stuttgart have brought in youngster Carlos Gruezo from Ecuador.
Kvist, 28, is a Danish international born in the Jutland. He moved to Copenhagen as a child and began his professional career with FC Copenhagen in 2004, where he won five Danish league titles and was twice named Danish Player of the Year. He transferred to Stuttgart in June, 2011 and featured in over 65 league matches for the Swabians, but has found playing time scarce lately despite his earlier solid play at the defensive midfield position.
Kvist was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying
I’m very pleased to have got the deal done and I’m looking forward to contributing to this fantastic Club,’ Kvist told fulhamfc.com. ‘Of course I’ve heard a lot of good things from Brede (Hangeland) and it’s been a target of mine to come here so I’m delighted to be here really…… I just had my first training session and it was perfect. It was good to get to know the guys and talk to Rene Meulensteen about the tactical concepts and what his ideas are so I’m very much looking forward to my time here
Molinaro, meanwhile, heads to Parma as Stuttgart sought to offload the 30 year=old left back whose contract with the German club expires this summer. The Italian-born international joined Stuttgart ion a six-month loan in January, 2010 before the Swabians made the deal permanent with his former club, Juventus. Molinaro, who was inactive most of the Hinrunde, has earned 6 caps for Italy and also has featured for Italian clubs Siena and Salernitana. Molinaro totalled 93 Bundesliga appearances in a Stuttgart uniform.
Coming into the Stuttgart squad is Ecuadoran midfielder Carlos Gruezo, 18. Gruezo impressed during his involvement in Stuttgart’s winter South African training and earned a four-year deal with the club. He comes to Germany from Ecuadoran club Barcelona SC Guayaquil, for whom he featured 77 times since 2012, the year the club won the Ecuadoran Serie A title. Gruezo also appeared in the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Jermaine Jones to Beşiktaş
Long-time Schalke central midfielder Jermaine Jones will join Beşiktaş on loan for the remainder of the season, with the Turkish club holding an option to extend Jones’ contract for another two seasons. Jones’ Schalke contract expires this summer and a move was expected, as he did not attend the club’s winter training camp.
Born in Frankfurt, Jones has spent his career mainly with Eintracht Frankfurt, where he began, and with Schalke since 2007. featuring in over 125 Bundesliga matches. He also spent brief spells at Bayer Leverkusen and on loan to Blackburn Rovers. The 32 year-old played on German national youth sides, but opted to represent the United States as an international, the nation of his father. He has 38 American caps and is expected to be part of the American squad in this summer’s World Cup.
Hannover Acquires Czech Right Back
The 96ers have acquired Czech right back František Rajtoral on loan for the remainder of the season from FC Viktoria Plzeň of the Gambrinus liga. Hannover have the option to make the loan deal permanent.
Rajtoral, 27, has played his entire career in Czech Republic, beginning his professional career with 1.FK Příbram before joining FC Baník Ostrava in 2005. During his last four seasons at Viktoria Plzeň, the 5’11” international has featured in over 140 matches in all competitions, scoring 15 goals. He brings both Champions League experience and experience internationally, with 10 caps, with him to Hannover. With Hannover right back Hiroki Sakai plagued with yellow cards and longtime fixture Steve Cherundolo still battling injury, there is an outside possibility that Rajtoral may see action this weekend when Hannover face Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Meanwhile, Hannover have loaned out 24 year-old Adrian Nikci to Swiss side FC Thun until the end of the season. The midfielder has been little-used at Hannover since joining the club in the summer of 2012 and is under contract with the 96ers through June, 2015. A Swiss citizen, Nikci featured in over 100 matches for FC Zurich before joining the 96ers.
Luuk de Jong Loaned to Newcastle
Striker Luuk de Jong, who came to Borussia Mönchengladbach two summers ago surrounded by a great deal of fanfare, has been loaned by the club to Newcastle United through the rest of the season, with Newcastle having the option of picking up his contract permanently.
Joining Gladbach from Eredivise side FC Twente, de Jong twice led that squad in scoring while playing both on a league champion and Cup winning side. But the Dutch international has struggled to find the level of success he enjoyed in the Netherlands, scoring six Bundesliga goals last season but not once named to Coach Lucien Favre’s starting XI this campaign as Gladbach have rebounded from a lackluster 2012/2013 season to currently latch onto the fourth spot in the Bundesliga table.
De Jong commented on his move
Newcastle is a great club, and I have a good feeling about it. I am very impressed with the stadium and training ground, and have been made to feel very welcome by everyone I have met. It has been a tough season for me so far, but I am here to play games and want to be important for the team. I am really looking forward to playing for Newcastle
De Jong joins former SC Freiburg striker Papiss Demba Cisse on the Magpies squad. Newcastle management hope to strike gold with De Jong, as they have with former Bundesliga strikers Cisse and Demba Ba (now at Chelsea), who combined for over 50 goals playing for the English club.
Bartels to Werder in the Summer
St. Pauli veteran Fin Bartels will be moving to Werder Bremen this summer on a free transfer. The native of Kiel has been a featured player with St. Pauli, appearing in almost 115 matches in all competitions for the Reeperbahn club since arriving prior to the club’s 2010/2011 promotion season in the Bundesliga. Bartels began his career with Holstein Kiel and came to St. Pauli from Hansa Rostock, where he spent four seasons, including one in the first division. A midfielder who can also play up front, Bartels has scored six goals in two seasons of Bundesliga play and 31 goals while toiling in 2. Bundesliga.
For more immediate help, Werder Bremen are reportedly close to a deal with Bordeaux attacker Ludovic Obraniak for a transfer fee speculated to be in the range of 2 million euros. The 29 year-old Polish international has spent his entire club career in France, beginning with Metz and then heading to Lille before signing with Bordeaux. He’s scored 38 goals in 319 league appearances
Werder Bremen are also looking to obtain Sevilla winger Diego Perotti on loan. Perotti, a 25 year-old Argentine has featured in over 150 matches for the La Liga side.
More Transfer Moves
Hoffenheim midfielder Andreas Ludwig, 23, has been loaned to 1860 Munich until the end of the season. Since joining Hoffenheim from his hometown side, SSV Ulm, Ludwig has featured mainly for Hoffe’s reserve side, only getting nine chances with the senior squad. Meanwhile, another Ulm native, midfielder Erik Thommy, 19, has been rewarded by FC Augsburg for his success with the club’s reserves by receiving a professional contract. Thommy featured in 22 Regionalliga Bayern matches for Augsburg’s reserves, scoring 13 goals with two assists while featuring mainly on the left wing, although he also played on the right wing, at center forward and even as a central midfielder.
Eintracht Braunschweig, fairly quiet during the transfer window, inked Salim Khelifi , 20, from Swiss side Lausanne-Sport. Khelifi featured in 65 matches for the Super League club since 2011 and has played for Swiss youth national sides, including four turns with the Swiss U-21s in 2013. Khelifi signed a four-year deal with Braunschweig. Hamburger SV have signed Hansa Rostock midfielder/defender Ronny Marcos, 20. Born in Germany of a German/Mozambican background, Marcos made the pitch 16 times for Rostock since his August, 2012 debut with the club. He is expected to start his career in Hamburg with the reserve side. And VfL Wolfsburg have picked up 20 year-old defender Noah Korczowski from 1. FC Nürnberg. The youngster has appeared three times for Der Club’s senior squad but has mainly featured with the reserve side, while also making appearances for Germany’s U-17 and U-19 teams.