It’s been a long time between blog posts but the silence is probably a fair reflection of the lack of transfer activity in Swedish football. Of the five players I swore would not be playing in Sweden by 1 February, only one actually ended up leaving: Elfsborg’s Denni Avdic was signed by Werder Breman. But apart from that the January transfer window was more notable for the deals that didn’t happen and the players that came back, rather than the players that left.
Juventus was supposedly interested in Alexander Gerndt and Fulham was reportedly keen on Trelleborg keeper Viktor Norling, but apparently neither were interested enough to make a bid. It has been alleged that Schalke 04 made a bid of 25 SEK million for Helsingborg’s Rasmus Jönsson, while Malmö were busy rejecting bids from Germany for Daniel Larsson. The most recent rumours linked Birmingham City to Örebro SK’s American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, but even if that’s true, they’ll have to wait until July now.
In fact the talent was arguably flowing in the other direction. The biggest name to return to Swedish football was David Elm, who along with his brothers Viktor and Rasmus, was integral to Kalmar’s title winning team in 2008. David had spent the past two seasons with Fulham struggling to get a game outside of the League Cup, and will be returning to play for Elfsborg. Joining him will be Lasse Nilsson, who also returns to Sweden after an unsuccessful spell in Europe.
The transfer window also saw a number of players return to their original clubs: Martin Mutumba is back at AIK, Sharbel Touma to Syrianska, and Dioh Williams to Häcken. Most remarkably of all, Wanderson do Carmo could well be returning to GAIS nine months after signing for Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ahli Jeddah. It turns out the club can only sign three foreign players and since Wanderson has struggled since arriving last summer, they’re looking to loan him out to make room for another foreigner. They’re even prepared to pay 95% of his wages to make it happen, meaning Gais can potentially retain one of their better players over the past few seasons, retain the transfer fee from selling him, and save on the wages they initially used to pay him. What’s not to like if you’re a Gaisare?
On a sadder note, January also saw a number of veterans leave the game, either retiring or demoted to lower divisions. Teddy Lucic, a former Swedish international with 86 caps and three World Cups, retired. Despite being one of the Allsvenskan’s best players last season, Helsingborg did not offer 36 year-old Marcus Lantz a new contract. In fact no Allsvenskan club offered him a contract, and he’ll spend 2011 playing under former teammate Henrik Larsson at Landskrona. Per ‘Texas’ Johansson, who has been at Halmstad for the past ten years, was also denied a new contract and will now play for Superettan side Falkenberg FF. AIK veteran Daniel Tjernström looked destined to join them in the lower leagues with AIK reluctant to renew his contract, but he was eventually convinced to lower his wages enough to be granted one more year.
Finally, the most interesting transfer activity has been taking place in unfashionable Halmstad, suggesting they could be a club to watch in 2011. New Spanish manager Josep Clotet Ruiz, who last season was an assistant coach at Malmö FF, cannot be accused of not being ambitious as he has been off borrowing players from Real Madrid! In this day and age it is very rare for clubs of this stature to have any contract with Swedish football unless they’re looking to snatch child prodigies from youth academies. Yet being Spanish has obviously helped Ruiz to snare Real Madrid’s Zamora, Raul Ruiz and Javi on loan. Sure, they’re all youth players, but you’d think that anyone deemed good enough to be on Real Madrid’s books is going to star in the league like the Allsvenskan? Along with singings Ivan Diaz (also a former Real Madrid youth player) and Nauzet Perez, Ruiz has given Halmstads BK a very distinct Spanish ambience that could prove exciting to watch.