FEATURE: The transfers of Dujshebaev (24), Sagosen (21) and Janc (20) highlight a new generation of Champions League stars. Here is an overview of the top signings this summer. Part 2: Groups A and B.
The 12 hottest transfers in Groups A & B
With only just over a month left until the start of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 season, ehfcl.com takes a closer look at what has happened on the transfer market.
Following the 6 hottest transfers in Groups C and D earlier this week it is time to shift the attention to the 12 major signings in Groups A and B.
While mainly experienced stars were changing jerseys in previous years, fresh blood has become the focus this season. None of our top three signings is older than 24 years.
No. 12: Miha Zarabec (SLO) – from RK Celje (SLO) to THW Kiel (GER)
After the likes of Aron Palmarsson and Filip Jicha left Kiel, Domagoj Duvnjak was the only remaining top playmaker. This gap has now been closed by the Slovenian international, a classic centre back. As Duvnjak is still out after surgery, Zarabec will have to carry a big responsibility in the rejuvenated THW squad. But he has proved his abilities in Celje and the national team, which he led to the bronze medal at the World Championship in France.
No. 11: Dejan Manaskov (MKD) – from Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) to Telekom Veszprém (HUN)
Though he will celebrate only his 25th birthday end of August, Veszprém are already the fifth club for the highly talented Macedonian left wing, who earlier played for Metalurg Skopje, Wetzlar (GER) and Vardar. The son of Macedonian legend Pepi Manaskov did not get as much playing time as he wanted beside Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson at Löwen and is now making the next step of his career by joining the three-time Champions League finalists.
No. 10: Petar Djordjic (SRB) – from SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) to Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Born in Serbian handball city Sabac, Djordjic followed his father Zoran quite early to German. He possesses both passports but plays for Serbia. The 1.97-metre tall left back shooter will have his first club outside of Germany. As Meshkov are in a kind of transition, he will start with a quite new line-up. After three years at Flensburg, he joined local rivals Hamburg, then returned to Flensburg. Djordjic is famous for his classic long-range hammer shots.
No. 9: William Accambray (FRA) – from Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) to Telekom Veszprém (HUN)
Olympic champion 2012, world champion 2011 and 2017, EHF EURO champion 2010 and 2014, nine French league titles with Montpellier and PSG: Accambray’s list of triumphs is long. After several injuries and with his left back position at PSG occupied by players like Hansen or Karabatic, the French international goes abroad for the first time after three years at Paris. In Veszprém, the 29-year-old shooter will be one of six new players in the squad of new coach Ljubomir Vranjes.
No. 8: Jerry Tollbring (SWE) from IK Kristianstad (SWE) to Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
His star rose at the age of 20 at the EHF EURO 2016 and later as part of Kristianstad’s VELUX EHF Champions League season 2016/17. Hunted by several European top clubs, Löwen won the race for the fast Swedish counterattack specialist. After the departure of Dejan Manaskov, Tollbring will take care of this position alongside Icelandic veteran Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson. As his previous club coach Ola Lindgren has been Löwen coach before and some Swedish national team players are part of the current squad, Tollbring might have received some good advice already.
No. 7: Dainis Kristopans (LAT) – from Meshkov Brest (BLR) to Vardar Skopje (MKD)
2.15 metres, there is no taller player than the Latvian colossus in the whole VELUX EHF Champions League. Left-handed Kristopans is supposed to take over Alex Dujshebaev ‘s role at the defending champions. At the age of 19, Kristopans joined Tatran Presov. Two years ago he moved to Belorussian top side Brest, where he became one of Meshkov’s top scorers in the SEHA Liga and the Champions League. His playing style will be different to Dujshebaev’s, but Kristopans has proven he can be a goal machine.
No. 6: Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) – from Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) to Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Coming from the youth programme of FC Barcelona, Rodrigo Corrales has now arrived at a true top spot in the world of handball. As a youngster, the goalkeeper made his first Champions League steps at Barcelona before joining Huesca on loan. There he was discovered by former Plock coach Manuel Cadenas, a Spaniard famous for polishing talented handball diamonds. In Plock, Corrales became number 1 and made it into the Spanish national team. Now he will replace veteran Gorzd Skof in Paris and will have a hot race with Thierry Omeyer.
No. 5: Jure Dolenec (SLO) – from Montpellier Handball (FRA) to FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP)
If a goal machine and top star leaves a club, it is hard to fill the gap. After Kiril Lazarov announced his farewell from Barcelona, the Catalan team were searching for a dynamic left-handed player, and found him at Montpellier. Jure Dolenec followed a classic Slovenian career path. Highly skilled from his youngest days and strong in one-against-one situations he made his way in Velenje. Then, like many Slovenians before and after him, he joined Montpellier. Barcelona signed the 29-year-old right back even before his strong performance at the World Championship in France last January.
No. 4: Kiril Lazarov (MKD) – from FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) to HBC Nantes (FRA)
For the third season in a row Nantes have managed to sign a former Champions League winner. After new assistant coach Alberto Entrerrios (Ciudad Real) and Dominik Klein (Kiel), they have made another transfer coup with Lazarov. Despite his age of 37, the Macedonian legend is still a guarantee for goals. He holds all goal scoring records at single European and World Championships. Also in EHF EURO 2018 qualifying the two-time Champions League top scorer led the list. Lazarov will have to learn a new language and will need to adapt to a new style, but definitely will pay back in goals.
No. 3: Blaz Janc (SLO) – from RK Celje (SLO) to Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)
Bronze medallist at the World Championship, SEHA Liga top scorer, best talent of the year. If you had to pick one rising star of the 2016/17 season, it should be Blaz Janc. The 20-year-old ring wing ‘exploded’ within months after breaking through the previous season and winning the Youth Olympic Games with Slovenia in 2014. The initial plan was to stay one more year at Celje to improve, but everything changed with the offer of the 2016 VELUX EHF Champions League winners. In Kielce, Janc will replace German EHF EURO champion Tobias Reichmann.
No. 2: Sander Sagosen (NOR) – from Aalborg Handball (DEN) to Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Sander Sagosen can be a role model for the career plan of Blaz Janc as at the age of 21 he already turned from talent to world class player. The Norwegian international was chased by all major clubs following his more than spectacular performance at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, where he steered the Scandinavians to the semi-final. Finally, PSG won the race for Aalborg’s playmaker, will add another super star to their world class squad. The fans in France have already got to meet Sagosen’s brilliance as he helped Norway to the World Championship final against France – and against most of his new PSG teammates.
No. 1: Alex Dujshebaev (ESP) – from Vardar Skopje (MKD) to Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)
The family reunion of the 2016 Champions League winning coach with his 2017 Champions League winning son is the top transfer of the year. Probably the individual glance of Sander Sagosen shines brighter than the cleverness and playing style of Alex Dujshebaev, but Talant’s son has already proved his strength for a longer time and under very special circumstances. He was Vardar’s best scorer in the victorious Champions League season 2016/17, led the Macedonians to the SEHA Liga title, and has already developed into a core player of the Spanish national team. And his career plan was extraordinary. When whole Europe was chasing him, he went to Vardar to develop, and the kid turned into a man. In 2019, all Dujshebaevs will be together when Dani joins Kielce after finishing his handball college in Celje.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
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