Brazilian bust? Guidetti club grows in Holland; Young player impresses Malmö in Florida; Kalmar gets cash infusion
Fated to flop?
Opening Day of the 2012 Allsvenskan is still six weeks away but that doesn’t mean the Swedish media has already decided which big-name offseason moves will prove to be post-season regrets. The consensus is on Brazilians Ricardo Santos and Daniel Sobralense, each of whom left Kalmar for bigger clubs – Santos joining Djurgården and Sobralense moving to Göteborg.
According to reports in Sweden, media “experts” don’t believe either player is worth the price their clubs are paying and neither were game changers while they were at Kalmar. Those might be right about Sobralense, who was less than happy with his contract and at first refused to return to Sweden. Since he came back, however, he has been a model player under new head coach Michael Stahre.
Santos is already a favorite among Djurgården fans and new head coach Magnus Pehrsson says his Brazilian striker won’t have to shoulder the offensive load alone, something he often tried to do at Kalmar.
Both players have 30 matches to prove the experts wrong.
Guidetti fan club hits 27,000
The most popular thing in Holland is no longer wooden shoes or windmills, at least not in Rotterdam. It’s Swedish sensation John Guidetti. The 19-year-old on-loan striker from Manchester City has played his way into the heart of the fans of the city’s football team, Feyenoord, so much so that no one wants him to leave. City and Rottersdam only agreed on a one-year loan, which expires this summer.
The Swede’s play, however, has fans clamoring for him stay for at least another year. When a group of fans started an online petition to give to his agent, 27,000 people signed in just one day. Guidetti has 14 goals and five assists in 14 matches for Rotterdam, a scoring rate that is among the best in Europe. Despite his torrid play, however, Guidetti probably has no way of breaking into the star-studded, multi-million-pound Manchester City first team.
Malmö FF played a “marathon” match against MLS side Columbus Crew Feb. 9 and by the end of the match needed help from a local soccer academy to field a team.
The two teams locked horns in a 135-minute epic of three 45-minute periods. Malmö won the 90-minute “game” 2-1 on goals by Mattias Ranegie and Alexander Nilsson. Malmö manager Rikard Norling was happy with the result but complained the southern Florida heat and humidity took its toll on his players. Erik Friberg, Ranegie and Wilton Figueiredo all limped off the field with cramps during the first 90 minutes.
In the final period, Malmö borrowed a few players from the IMG Soccer Academy, which played host to the match. One player in particular caught the eye of sports director Per Ågren, 18-year-old defender Gustavo Rivera.
The Puerto Rico native played the entire third period alongside regular and reserve Malmö players. His play so impressed Ågren the Malmö sports director didn’t rule out a summer trial.
“It is certainly something we will have to think about,” Ågren said. “He played very well here today.”
In the money
After watching IFK Göteborg and Djurgården sweep up talent throughout the offseason, Kalmar FF announced it is ready to step up to make its deals.
The Småland club put a hold on any big-money moves in the offseason until it got its financial house in order. Kalmar put up more than 40 million kronor ($6.6 million) for the construction of its new stadium and because of that outlay, it cut off funds to buy new players. However, the sale of Mattias Johansson to AZ Alkmaar in Holland for 12 million kronor gave the club a new injection of cash.
The lack of money during the offseason frustrated head coach Nanne Bergstrand, who saw two of his top players jump to other Swedish clubs for better salaries. Now, Bergstrand has the green light to go out and pick all the talent he can for 12 million kronor but the club squelched any suggestions that Kalmar would go on a sudden spending spree.
“Nothing will probably happen until the summer transfer window,” said club president Jonny Petersson. “Even then, it won’t simply be about 2012 but the future. We want to continue to grow our base.”
by Chipp Reid
Djurgården striker Ricardo Santos -- will he flop or fly with his new team? Bildbyrån photo