The 2012 winter transfer window, also known as the “Silly Season,” closed Jan. 31 as teams frantically rushed to make last-second deals. Two of the biggest involved players leaving Sweden for bigger leagues.
The greatest shock came Jan. 29 when former Brommapojkarna and Sweden Under-21 goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt signed a deal with England Premier League club Liverpool. Neither side disclosed the terms.
Nordfeldt is a free agent. His contract with Bromma expired Dec. 1 and he refused to sign with any Swedish clubs, wanting instead to head overseas. Rumors initially had him moving either to a Spanish Second Division side or to Holland while Djurgarden also a made a bid for his services. However, when Liverpool contacted his agent Oliver Cabrera, the die was cast.
“Liverpool sees him as absolutely the top Swedish goalkeeping talent,” Cabrera said. “He still can get even better by improving some aspects of his game and with he would have every chance to be a really top goalkeeper.”
Nordfeldt and Cabrera flew to Liverpool Jan. 31 to work out the details of the contract.
No. 2 on the shock was the sudden move of IFK Göteborg player Niklas Bäkroth to Benfica in Portugal. The 20-year-old midfielder was one of the brightest up-and-coming stars in the Allsvenskan and his move forced Göteborg to make its own series of deals.
Although he signed Benfica, Bäkroth is to spend the rest of the season on loan to second-from-last-place side Uniao de Leiria. The midfielder said he was ready for the challenge.
“I know I will go to play for a small side, but they are in the top division,” Bäkroth said. “Anyway, I will have a good chance to show off my skills.”
Bäkroth said he expected to take the field for his new club Feb. 12, provided he passes a physical.
Göteborg, to make up for losing Bäkroth, lured Örebro star Nordin Gerzic away from the Behrn Arena to Gamla Ullevi. Gerzic, 28, was a fan favorite at Örebro and reportedly didn’t want to leave the club, at least not at first. Once he realized OSK needed to sell him, however, Gerzic agreed to the deal. Göteborg paid 7.5 million kronor ($1.1 million) for him.
Örebro then made its own moves, snapping up midfielder Daniel Bamberg from Haugesend in Norway. The Brazilian-born, naturalized Sweden had 8 goals and 10 assists for Haugesund, but was unhappy as he had to fly to away matches. Bamberg is afraid of flying. Most teams in Sweden use buses to get to away matches.
Bamberg signed a four-year deal with OSK.
Djurgården and Gefle completed a last-minute deal, sending striker Johan Oremo back to his old club. Oremo joined DIF three years ago from Gefle, but never found the scoring touch that made him a hot commodity. Djurgården signed forwards James Keene and Ricardo Santos and had no room for Oremo. Neither club released terms of the deal.
Malmö made a move to keep a star young player, turning down bids from two Spanish clubs for striker Daniel Larsson. The Swedish Under-21 international reportedly had offers from Levante in the La Liga or Spanish premier league as well as from Hercules, the top team in the second division. Larsson, and his agent, said the player agreed to stay at Malmö for the time being while he awaits offers from Italy. Serie A side Cessena reportedly is ready to make a move for the striker when the summer transfer window opens in August.
Malmö is currently training in Florida.
Defending champions Helsingborg made a move to bolster their defense, inviting former AIK defender Walid Atta to training camp. Atta was playing for FC Zagreb in Croatia but left the club by mutual consent. HIF has yet to offer Atta a contract, wanting to see whether injuries and lack of playing time have dulled his talent.
League newcomers Sundsvall reportedly are set to snap up Elfsborg midfielder Anders Wikström. Elfsborg is willing to let Wikström, who returned to Borås after a year-long loan spell at IFK Norrköping. The 30-year-old defender doesn’t fit into Elfborg’s plans and the club agreed to let Wikström leave as a Bosman free transfer.
Kalmar signed Senegal international Papa Diouf to a three-year-deal. Diouf replaces Daniel Sobralense, who left Kalmar for Göteborg. Sobralense remains in Brazil. He refuses to report to Göteborg, claiming the club “tricked” him with offers of a signing bonus the club would pay in a lump sum. Göteborg says the contract calls for installment payment.
The “Silly Season” comes along twice a year – in January and August – when the so-called “transfer window” opens in European football. The Union of European Football Associations, UEFA, created the window to prevent larger clubs from constantly raiding smaller teams for players.

by Chipp Reid