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12.07.2016, 16:40◄ last page     

LAST WEEK IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Transfer action is back on the table, as the Europe’s finest ponder moves to top the rankings come September

Summer of transfers heating up fast

Veszprem have already pulled the trigger on some exciting talent in the past weeks, but even in the early day of the summer, Hungarians are working full steam to ready the squad for Xavier Sabate’s tactical scheme come next season.

That of course, means keeping hold of their quintessential talent, while adding sensible rotation options for the likes of Momir Ilić and Laszlo Nagy, who has just recently expressed his dedication to the club’s cause.

Meanwhile, Zagreb stole the show by pulling a coup to bring a legendary line player back to the Croatian capitol for the fourth time, somewhat overshadowing their impressive transfer activity with limited funds available.

Vujo’s latest and most impressive acquisition Igor Vori, immediately rallied the troops, expressing no desire to lose matches on his return to the “Arena Zagreb”.

Your favourite insight into the off-season activities ‘Last week in the Champions League’ already suggested a hot summer, but this one is heating up pretty fast. Read below for more ins and outs among the European elite.

Better late than never - Laci remains the king of Veszprem

Telekom Veszprem finally announced the deal was made for Laszlo Nagy to stay at the club. The legendary right back was out of contract this summer, which sparked a lot of speculation, and while it was next to unimaginable to see Laci represent any other team, it took a while longer than expected to for the deal to be made.

Following a three-year deal, 35-year-old Nagy has effectively pledged the rest of his career to his beloved club. This way, Veszprem will have their veteran stars tied down until 2019, as the club’s top scorer Momir Ilic has also signed a three-year extension with the Hungarian powerhouse earlier this year.

“It means a lot (to have signed a contract extension). I am thankful to the club's management for the trust, and glad to have extended the contract. The decision resulted from the fact that I feel good, both mentally and physically, and as long as the club also think that I can help Veszprem, I am very happy to do so. 

“But I will tell you the truth, it would be difficult to quickly let go of such an environment, such a good atmosphere and the arena. So I'm glad that I can continue to enjoy the team and the fans who give us a lot of encouragement and confidence,” said the 35-year old in an interview for handballveszprem.hu.

However, in the club’s 40th year, the Hungarian giants showed no sign of slowing in the transfer market, either. In addition to the shopping spree in the opening days of the summer transfer window, Veszprem have now added another weapon to their arsenal. Slovenian towering line player Blaz Blagotinsek has joined an already enviable collection of players in that position with Renato Sulic, Andreas Nilsson, and Timuzsin Schuch.

The 22-year old Slovenian has had a breakthrough season, impressing for Celje Pivovarna Lasko with 30 goals in the VELUX EHF Champions League, while also making the Veselin Vujovic’s Slovenia squad at the EHF EURO 2016, as well as the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. The 202 cm tall Slovenian has signed a three-year deal in Veszprem.

Don’t Vori, be happy

HC PPD Zagreb caught many off-guard by securing the signature of veteran line player Igor Vori. Zagreb-born Vori will therefore complete the circle, coming back to his boyhood club he represented three times in his career. The last time Vori was seen wearing Zagreb shirt was in the EHF Champions League Quarter-final in 2009, as the fans in Arena Zagreb will relish seeing their idol’s return after seven years.

Vori’s illustrious career took him to such handball powerhouses as Barcelona, Hamburg and PSG. Vori was also the integral part of any success the Croatian team has made, ever since the Olympic Games gold medal won in 2004.

However, looking at his enviable trophy cabinet boasting nine medals from all the major competitions in a decade of Croatia’s greatest success, the VELUX EHF Champions League winner from 2012/13 (HSV) Vori, looks to new challenges awaiting his two-season stay at his beloved club.

“First of all, I didn’t come to Zagreb to lose matches. There are always going to be defeats, for any team, but for me, and everyone at the club the big success would be to win the SEHA league and secure a VELUX EHF FINAL4 berth - nothing would make me happier. It would be one of the biggest achievements in my career,” said the 35 year-old.

Meanwhile, Vujovic used his knowledge of Slovenia to seal deals on some under-the-radar talent to boost their credentials fighting on many fronts next season.

Zagreb acquired the signatures of Matevz Skok, Darko Cingesar and David Miklavcic in recent days, while also securing the services of a homegrown talent Jovro Jotic.

Bosnian champion Josip Eres who joins from RK Izvidjac is also one for the future, and completes the list of names that have joined Vujovic in Zagreb so far.

TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cor

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