Vardar exodus provides summer’s most prized assets
Clubs in the VELUX EHF Champions League have begun to display their latest signings in pre-season, which leads to the question of which teams made the best deals in the transfer market and which new arrivals have the potential to set the court alight in their new club colours.
It is never easy to choose between so many great young talents and established greats. Only time will tell who will take their team to the next level, but here are ten players who could do exactly that.
10. Thomas Mogensen (SG Flensburg-Handewitt to Skjern Handbold)
After reaching last season’s quarter-final and earning a spot in Groups A/B of this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League, Skjern belong among the big boys now and this signing proves they plan on sticking around.
Thomas Mogensen leaves Flensburg as a legend after 11 impressive seasons, but he has no intention of slowing down and his experienced playmaking and scoring ability will be crucial as Skjern attempt to make their mark in Group B.
WIERD😏 Today @SGFleHa starts the preperations for the new season and i’m not a part of it! Good luck guys😘 💙❤️— Thomas Mogensen (@MogensenThomas) 16 de julio de 2018
But I’m also looking forward to the new big tasks with @SkjernHaandbold in the future💪🏻💚 pic.twitter.com/lz6MuR7KZ7
9. Torbjorn Bergerud (TTH Holstebro to SG Flensburg-Handewitt)
It is far from easy to bounce back from losing goalkeepers such as club hero Mattias Andersson to retirement and young talent Kevin Møller to Barcelona, but Flensburg’s signing of Torbjorn Bergerud should fill the gap left between the posts nicely.
The 24-year-old has already accrued over 50 caps for Norway and appeared in the 2017 World Championship final, so we could be seeing the next Scandinavian to make a big name for himself at Flens Arena.
8. Steffen Fäth (Füchse Berlin to Rhein-Neckar Löwen)
A return to Europe’s top flight has been a long time coming for Steffen Fäth, who has returned to Rhein-Neckar Löwen after enjoying a brief spell at this level in 2008/08 as an 18-year-old.
The German left back has emerged as a quality player over the last few seasons, playing a key part in his nation’s EHF EURO 2016 success and his signing from Füchse Berlin appears to be a fine piece of business done by Löwen.
7. Viran Morros (Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain)
This is perhaps the most fascinating move of the summer, Viran Morros brought his seven-year spell at Barcelona to an end to join PSG.
It will be interesting to see what new coach Raul Gonzalez has in store this season, with Morros and fellow newcomer Henrik Toft Hansen adding fearsome defensive options alongside the Karabatic brothers.
Premiere journée avec ma nouvelle équipe. Tres heureux et excité pour cette nouveau défi. Merci @psghand pour l’accueil.— Viran (@Viranmorros) 31 de julio de 2018
Primer día con mi nuevo equipo. Muy feliz e ilusionado con este nuevo reto. Muchas gracias @psghand por la acogida. #icicestparis #psghand pic.twitter.com/Jglra12ekZ
6. Dean Bombac (PGE Vive Kielce to MOL-Pick Szeged)
He left Szeged for Kielce on the back of a 101-goal European season in 2016, but Dean Bombac was unable to reproduce that form in his two seasons in Poland.
The Slovenian’s career appeared to stagnate at Kielce, but at 29, he should be coming into his prime as a handballer and if he does, signing him will prove to be a stroke of genius from the Hungarian champions.
5. Kentin Mahé (SG Flensburg-Handewitt to Telekom Veszprém HC)
Ljubomir Vranjes is really beginning to make this Veszprém squad his own and the arrival of Mahé is big piece of the puzzle.
The versatile Frenchman will easily find his spot in the squad and will know exactly what coach Vranjes wants from him.
4. Kim Ekdal du Rietz (Rhein-Neckar Löwen to Paris Saint-Germain)
After retiring from the sport for less than a season, the big Swede is back on his own terms and that makes him a very dangerous proposition indeed.
Ekdal du Rietz’s return at the tail end of last season was a surprise, but his decision to continue with PSG proves his appetite for the sport is stronger than ever and he brings a new dimension to the French champions’ attack at left back.
3. Ludovic Fabregas (Montpellier HB to Barcelona)
This reigning Champions League and World Championship winner may only be 22, but he has done more than enough to establish himself at this level and the Catalan club did well to secure his services over a year ago.
His stock has risen immensely since then and there is incredible potential for fruitful partnerships with Barcelona playmakers Entrerrios and Palmarsson.
2. Luka Cindric (HC Vardar to PGE Vive Kielce)
The departure of Bombac to Szeged and Uros Zorman’s retirement has left a gaping hole in the middle of Kielce’s attack, but Luka Cindric is the ideal man to fill it.
Alex Dujshebaev will be delighted to reconnect with the playmaker he won Europe’s elite club competition with two seasons ago and fresh inspiration in this position could be exactly what the Polish champions need.
1. Arpad Sterbik (HC Vardar to Telekom Veszprém HC)
Even at the age of 38, Arpad Sterbik showed the handball world why he is still one of the best goalkeepers around, with a number of stellar performances in the Champions League and the final weekend of the EHF EURO in January. There are few who have the potential to dictate a match like he has.
Sterbik’s new partnership between the posts with Roland Mikler could be a force to be reckoned with and crucial in Veszprém’s quest to return to Cologne.
Author: Chris O'Reilly / sb