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Bundesliga merry-go-round

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 7 Aug 2009

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The Bundesliga’s biggest transfer story during the close-season was the one which didn’t happen – the much talked-about future of Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.

Ultimately neither Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United were prepared to meet the ever-rising price tag set by the Bavarian club where the French international is contracted until 2011.

The German giants, overtaken last season by Wolfsburg at the top of the league, invested a club record 30 million euros to obtain German international striker Mario Gomez from Stuttgart – a stunning price for a player who completely misfired at Euro 2008.

Veteran Brazilian central defender Lucio left for Italy with champions Inter Milan reported to have paid 18 million euros for the 31-year-old.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Ze Roberto, out of contract at Munich, transferred to Hamburg with the 35-year-old midfielder being paid 3.5 million euros by his new club.

Danijel Pranjic the Croatian midfielder comes in to the Bayern line-up from Heerenveen (five million euros) as well as Dutch left-back Edson Braafheid (2.5 million) from FC Twente.

Hamburg signed Czech defender, and ex-Newcastle player David Rozenhal, (five million euros) from Lazio.

Ambitious Schalke, under three-time Bundesliga winning coach Felix Magath, unloaded last year’s expensive Dutch midfield flop Orlando Engelaar onto PSV Eindoven for three million euros, bringing in talented youngster Lewis Holtby from Aachen for the same amount.

At Hoffenheim, coach Jan Schindelmeiser has signed freescoring Ghanaian forward Prince Tagoe on a free transfer from Saudi club Al-Ittifaq, Argentine teenage midfielder Franco Zuculini (4.7 million euros) from Racing Club Avellaneda and Croatian defender Josip Simunic from Hertha Berlin (seven million.)

Stuttgart, anxious to replace Gomez, finally agreed with Barcelona the return of their one-time player Alexander Hleb.

The ex-Arsenal, Belarus international opted against a move to Inter Milan in favour of a move on loan back to the German club where he played from 2000-2005.

German Cup holders Werder Bremen took back international midfielder Tim Borowski who had been on loan at Bayern.

Borussia Dortmund snapped up Argentine goal-scoring sensation Lucas Barrios for 4.5 million euros from Colo Colo.

The 24-year-old striker hit the net a record 37 times in the 2008 season for the Chilean champions and replaces veteran Swiss national skipper Alexander Frei who departed to Basel in his native country (4.2 million euros).

Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg managed to hang on to the league’s footballer of the year, 23-year-old Bosnian striker Edzin Dzeko who had been tempted by AC Milan.

Algeria international Karim Ziani was recruited from Marseille (five million euros), the speedy 26-year-old midfielder “fits well in the team and will help us get to our target next season,” said Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh.

The champions also decided to take a chance and obtain Newcastle’s Obafemi Martins for a reported 8.5 million euros.

The 24-year-old Nigerian striker joined the relegated Magpies in 2004 but scored a modest eight times last season.

He was the focus of criticism surrounding his proneness to injury and his wage bill, said to amount to 60,000 pounds (70,000 euros) a week.

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