After five months of handball deprivation, most of the teams in Europe have already started their preseasons, some have already played friendly matches, some are still training keeping distance between each other. The end of the 2019/20 season was completely affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, but there's one thing that didn't stop despite the quarantines, uncertainties and lockdowns: the transfer market. On this article, we'll show all the transfers made on the main European clubs, including the 16 participants of the DELO EHF Champions League.
While some in some latitudes some of us are still complying with lockdowns, we've managed to use some of the time (a lot of it actually) to compile all of the transfers from the main European clubs.
With the abrupt end of the 2019/20 season, there's a long list of players who, unknowingly, played their last match with their clubs; some even played their last professional match ever, without actually acknowledging it. Most of them are now in their new clubs, some even in different countries; all of them were deprived from a proper farewell from teammates, coaches and fans.
If the lockdown and the long months of handball abstinence made you loose track of the transfer market, Playmaker | Women’s Handball helps you get ready for the upcoming season with an interactive map of the 2020/21 transfers.
What could've been...
Nora Mørk's transfer from CSM București to Vipers Kristiansand was undoubtedly one of the most resounding during the European summer. However, the reasons behind the move couldn't possibly be more sad. The 29-year-old right back chose to be close to her family after finding out that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last month.
After four seasons abroad (the first three in Hungary's Győri Audi ETO KC), Mørk is back in her home country and will hopefully be fit for the beginning of the season. The left handed tore the ACL on her left knee in August of last year, after having played her first minutes for the Romanian squad and missed her second consecutive season (she made her comeback with the Hungarian powerhouse after having tore the ACL on her right knee in February of 2018). Her injury meant that we were left with the hopes of seeing her alongside Andrea Lekić and Cristina Neagu, in what could've been the deadliest back-court in Europe; which was maybe what Adrian Vasile was needing in order to put the Romanian squad back at the top.
Mørk accepted the offer from the Norwegian champions and after having underwent her 11th knee surgery, she might be ready to jump back on the court. While many people suggested that maybe she should step aside from professional sports in order to avoid further injuries, the astounding right-back is determined to prove that she still has a lot to give to the sport, and that she will continue to do it because it's what she loves the most.
A new Russian contender?
While Rostov-Don are still the strongest team in Russia, a new club wants to make its way to the top of Europe. Financially supported by the Russian Handball Federation and DELO Group president Siarhei Shiskarev, CSKA from Moscow have already made a statement by finishing third on their first participation in the Russian league. And just as planned, they have also entered Euope's top club competition.
On their first year, CSKA have made their way to the podium of Russia with players of the likes of Russia's national team captain Daria Dmitrieva, Brazilian goalkeeper Chana Masson, Swedish line player and defensive especialist Sabina Jacobsen, and even drew back from retirement Olympic champion Ekaterina Ilina. For the upcoming season, the club from the capital has signed star goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina (Rostov-Don), young rising-star Elena Mikhaylichenko (MVP and World Champion at the Poland 2018 IHF Women's Youth World Championship, top scorer of the 2019/20 EHF Cup with Lada Togliatti), Danish line player Kathrine Heindahl (Odense Håndbold) and the experienced right wing, Marina Sudakova. It will certainly be interesting to see how far will this team go on the top club competition, which will hopefully start in September.
Budućnost dreams of Budapest
Well, in all fairness, don't all teams dream of being in Budapest at the end of the season? We're not even close to making any predictions regarding next year's participants of the DELO EHF Final 4 on May of 2021, but given the signings for the upcoming season, it wouldn't be crazy to suspect that the team from Podgorica could actually have a chance.
Dragan Adžić's Budućnost has always been one of the entertainers in Europe's top competition. The Montenegrin team has always shown a mix of young players that always blend well and play as if they had been in the game for years, with a group of seriously experienced women. This year is no exception; the youngsters will come together with players of the likes of Milena Raičević, Jovanka Radičević and Majda Mehmedović; with the addition of four highly reputed recruits: Andrea Lekić, Allison Pineau, Bárbara Arenhart and Itana Grbić.
In addition to those four renowned players, Adžić will count with the presence of the young Valeriia Maslova (Rostov-Don), another world champion in Poland 2018. With Đurđina Jauković's transfer to Brest Bretagne Handball, we could guess that the left back position could be taken ocasionally by Pineau or Lekić who have already taken turns doing so while in ŽRK Vardar 6 seasons ago.
Three high profile transfers to Győr
With the retirement of both Kari Aalvik Grimsbø and Eva Kiss Győri Audi ETO KC had to find some fitting replacements and were not slow to recruit France's Laura Glauser and Norway's Silje Solberg, two of the world's best goalkeepers. They will both fight for a spot with none other than Amandine Leynaud. With this top trio, it's hard to picture the Hungarian powerhouse struggling under the posts. Who wouldn't want to be in that dilemma?
The transfer of Jana Knedlíková to Vipers Kristiansand and the retirement of Bernadett Bódi also left the right wing position with a deficit and with Dorottya Faluvégi as the only player for that role. Besides the signing of academy player Laura Kürthi, the team conducted by Gabor Danyi brought in FTC Rail-Cargo Hungaria's starting right wing Viktória Lukács.
After having checked the transfer's map, what do you think are the most resounding transfers of the seasons? Which team got the best signings? We want to hear from you!