A busy day of dealings is underway as football clubs around Europe decide who to buy and which players to sell before the annual August transfer window closes. Here are some highlights of Friday's transfer action so far.
You don't often find a club referring to itself as "sleeping," even if the adjective is followed by the word "giant." But Hamburger SV supervisory board chairman Ernst-Otto Rieckhoff was happy use this term on Sunday, when he announced the appointment of Frank Arnesen as sporting director from July 1. The 54-year-old Dane, Rieckhoff revealed, had called HSV a "sleeping giant" in contract negotiations and been very excited about the untapped potential of the Bundesliga stalwarts. Rieckhoff, too, seemed very happy and pleased with himself, perhaps understandably so: the last time he had gone before the media a month ago, Rieckhoff had to explain why negotiations with German FA sporting director Matthias Sammer had broken down at the 11th hour. "This time, I can assure you, the deal is definitely done," said Rieckhoff, with a wry smile.
Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV have much in common this season. Both are underachieving, for starters: fourth and sixth place in the table, respectively, are well below expectations. The two powerhouses of the German game are also beset by internal strife, as sporting directors (Christian Nerlinger, Bastian Reinhardt) quibble with increasingly isolated managers (Louis van Gaal, Armin Veh).
There have been no matches in Germany since Dec. 22, but football certainly hasn't stopped. In fact, there's an unusual amount of transfer activity this winter. These are the top 10 stories/rumours/developments to keep an eye on before the real fun begins again on Jan 14.
After his second spell at Bayern Munich ended last summer, Ze Roberto said, "I went in through the front door and I went out through the front door, so there are no bad feelings." One ultimately frustrating season at Hamburger SV later, however, there are plenty of bad feelings. Bad enough, in fact, to doubt that Ze Roberto will come back to the "Rothosen" (red trousers) at all after the summer, let alone through the front door of the HSH Nordbank Arena.