Bundesliga clubs busy spending, but big names missing
Germany clubs were busier than ever before in the January transfer window, with 50 new players joining the Bundesliga as spending went above 48 million euros (71 million dollars).
Hamburg (dpa) - Germany clubs were busier than ever before in the January transfer window, with 50 new players joining the Bundesliga as spending went above 48 million euros (71 million dollars).
Together with summer's transfer spending of almost 195 million euros, it takes the outlay on new players to a record 242.25 million euros for the Bundesliga for a single season.
However fans hoping for some star names joining the league during the winter break will have been disappointed.
League leaders Bayern Munich, who splashed out some 70 million euros in the summer on big-name players such as Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Franck Ribery, again wrote the biggest cheque - 12 million euros to Sao Paulo for the young Brazilian defender Breno.
That was, however, the only signing by Bayern, who meanwhile released their French defender Valerien Ismael to Hanover.
The biggest spenders after Bayern were Hertha Berlin, who invested 7.8 million euros on five newcomers, including 4.5 million on Brazilian striker Raffael from FC Zurich.
In last-minute activity Thursday, Hertha sold 31-year-old Brazilian Gilberto to Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee while acquiring Czech midfielder Rudolf Skacel on loan from Southampton.
Many clubs appear to have looked for bargain buys, free transfers or loan deals as they attempt to consolidate their positions. Others have strengthened squads with young but largely untested players with an eye to the future.
Midtable Eintracht Frankfurt have spent 7.3 million euros on two youngsters in Czech 20-year-old striker Martin Fenin, who had been watched by several leading European clubs, and the 21-year-old Brazilian Caio, an attacking midfielder from Palmeiras.
Schalke 04 have also gone to Brazil to buy the midfielder Ze Roberto II from Botafogo for 4.2 million euros and signed another South American in Uruguayan striker Vicente Sanchez from Mexico's Deportivo Toluca.
Midfielder Albert Streit was also taken on board from Frankfurt, while Germany under-21 midfielder Mesut Ozil left Schalke for Werder Bremen in a deal worth a reported 5 million euros.
Ozil's move Thursday was the only transfer signing for second-placed Werder who sold Leon Andreasen to English side Fulham and released Brazilian midfielder Carlos Alberto - a club record 8-million-euro signing in the summer - on loan to Sao Paolo.
One of the most active clubs this winter has been VfL Wolfsburg where coach and sports director Felix Magath continues a major overhaul. Five players left and six joined the squad including goalkeeper Diego Benaglio from Nacional Funchal in Portugal and midfielder Makoto Hasebe from Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds.
In contrast champions VfB Stuttgart have been relatively inactive, releasing five players including Ewerthon to Espanyol, Gledson to Hansa Rostock and Danijel Ljoboja to Wolfsburg, while the only player of note to arrive was Romanian striker Sergiu Radu, on loan from Wolfsburg.
One old acquaintance to return to the Bundesliga is veteran Czech striker Jan Koller, once of Borussia Dortmund, who has switched from Monaco to Nuremberg for 1 million euros.
Third-placed SV Hamburg and fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen meanwhile appear satisfied with their squads. Hamburg have spent a modest 650,000 euros on three young players who are expected to be nurtured in the reserves, while Leverkusen are the only club who have not made a single signing.