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25.08.2016, 17:20◄ last page     

FEATURE: All VELUX EHF FINAL4 2016 participants are can be found among the ten top Champions League transfers of the summer, which features heavily the rotation of left wings between Europe’s elite clubs

Big names make big moves across Europe – Part 2

ehfCL.com presents the second part of this season’s top transfers in the VELUX EHF Champions League, following the revelation of places 20 to 11 on 24 August in part 1.

The rotation of left wings between clubs make a big impression on the ranking with the first piece containing Valero Rivera jun. (from Nantes to Barcelona) and Dominik Klein (from Kiel to Nantes).

In the opinion of the EHF journalists, who created this ranking, two further left wings make the top 10, including German Olympic bronze medallist and all-star team member Uwe Gensheimer, who made the first transfer in his life to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Like the French champions, all remaining participants of the 2016 edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 (Kielce, Veszprem and Kiel) have had a part to play in the top ten transfers of this year.

10. Lukas Nilsson - THW Kiel

It is a quite long and successful tradition for Swedish talents to sign for THW, with the likes of Wislander, Olsson and Lövgren making the move in the past.

Thus, it is no sensation that the 19-year-old two-time top scorer of the Swedish league joins Kiel, arriving from Ystads IF, where he made his first international appearances last season in the EHF Cup. Nilsson was the youngest player of the Swedish squad at Rio.

9. Ivan Cupic – HC Vardar

Despite losing his ring finger in an accident in 2008, Ivan Cupic has gone from strength to strength as a handball player. The Croatian right wing, who won several medals with the national team and was an all-star team member at the 2009 World Championship has found another major club, after winning the VELUX EHF Champions League with Kielce in Cologne.

Before his four years in Poland, Cupic had played for Rhein-Neckar Löwen and Slovenian side Velenje.

8. Filip Ivic – KS Vive Tauron Kielce

The goalkeeper of RK PPD Zagreb was chased most of Europea’s top clubs, but finally the 23-year-old Zagreb-born talent decided to join the current champions.

There, he follows in the footsteps of fellow Croat keeper Marin Sego and is expected to share time between the posts with Slawomir Szmal.

Ivic won World Championship bronze with Croatia in 2013, but was not chosen for Rio 2016.

7. Luka Stepancic - Paris Saint Germain Handball

The 2015/16 season had started with a severe knee injury for the 25-year-old right back, but he fought hard to become member of Croatia’s Olympic squad in Rio.

Stepancic signed a deal with PSG until 2019 and will continue the series of Croats at the club like Kopljar and Vori before him.

“It was my dream to join a team fighting for the Champions League title,” he said when his transfer was announced.

6. Andreas Wolff - THW Kiel

In January, Wolff was the hero of the German team and a cornerstone for their sensational EHF EURO gold medal.

In Rio, where Wolff had the second most number of saves, he proved that his EURO performance was no one-hit-wonder. Due to his transfer from HSG Wetzlar, now Kiel have the all-star team goalkeepers and gold medallists of both the EHF EURO 2016 and Rio Olympic Games (Niklas Landin) in their squad.

5. Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson – Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Typically one would not expect a 37-year-old player among the top 10 transfers, but Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson is no typical 37-year-old.

Age continues to be no matter for the all-time top scorer of the Icelandic national team. From 2008 to 2011, Sigurdsson had a spell at Löwen and now the 2015 Champions League winner will fill in for Uwe Gensheimer in the squad of the German champions.

The left wing had been playing for two years at Barcelona, before he was at Kiel and Kobenhavn, which has given him the chance to play at five VELUX EHF FINAL4 events with four different clubs.

4. Dragan Gajic - Telekom Veszprem

Following five years at Montpellier, the top scorer of the 2015 World Championship has taken on a new challenge at the 2016 Champions League finalists.

Funny enough, the Slovenian will share the right wing position with his successor in the national team and at Celje, young gun Gasper Marguc. The 32-years-old adds even more experience to the Veszprem team and is one of the most efficient penalty shooters in the sport.

3. Joan Canellas – HC Vardar

The top scorer at EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark will enlarge the “Spanish family” at Vardar under their Spanish coach Raul Gonzales. After two years at THW Kiel, the 2013 world champion moves to Skopje along with another Kiel player, Brazilian line player Rogeiro Fereira.

Canellas had started his career at Granollers, where his brother Marc still plays, then joined Ciudad Real/Atletico Madrid, before he made it to Germany, first with Hamburg in 2013, then Kiel. His new contract at Skope runs until 2019.

2. Dean Bombac – KS Vive Tauron Kielce

With 101 goals, the Slovenian was a key Pick Szeged last season in the VELUX EHF Champions League, now the 27-year-old centre back opens a new chapter of his career at the current champions.

Bombac had played for Koper, Minsk and Aix-en-Provence before he joined Szeged. In Rio, he led Slovenia to the Olympic quarter-finals and will play together with his Slovenian teammate and mastermind in the playmaker position, Uros Zorman.

1. Uwe Gensheimer - Paris Saint Germain Handball

First he completed his long-term mission to steer Rhein-Neckar Löwen to their first German championship, after several disappointments, then he became bronze medallist and all-star team member at the Olympic Games in Rio - now German Uwe Gensheimer is ready for the bright lights of Paris.

For the Mannheim-born left wing it is the first transfer of his life after 13 years at Löwen and denying several offers from the likes of Barcelona and Kiel.

The 2013 EHF Cup winner had missed the successful EURO with Germany in Poland due to an injury and was named the best left wing of the 2015 World Championship in Qatar. At 29, Gensheimer felt this was the right time to move abroad and push for a VELUX EHF Champions League crown with the ambitious and talent-laden French club.

Moves to look out for in 2017

We can already look forward to some contenders for the top transfers of 2017 can be started, as some major signings for the 2017/18 campaign season have already been announced.

Currently the 2017 top transfer is the family reunion of the Dujshebaevs in Kielce, when son Alex (currently Vardar) will join his father Talant.

Another major 2017 transfer is a departure from Kielce, as EURO champion and Olympic bronze medallist Tobias Reichmann will return to Germany and will join EHF Cup participant MT Melsungen.

Current number three of this list is a signing of Paris Saint-Germain, as they won the race for one of Europe’s hottest talents, Norway’s EHF EURO All-star team member Sandor Sagosen, who will join from Aalborg.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor

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