Transfers to set European League alight
The new-look EHF European League Men provides us with a plethora of reasons to get excited. More seriously impressive and ambitious clubs are set to battle for Europe’s second-tier crown and there is no shortage of top class players preparing to take part.
Selecting just 10 transfers to feature here was no easy task and not everyone will agree, but here is a fine mix of exciting youth and established warriors whose summer moves guaranteed to make their new teams and this new competition better.
10. Vid Kavticnik (from PAUC Handball to USAM Nimes Gard)
The incredibly experience and versatile Kavticnik is on the move again after just one season at PAUC and Nimes will be delighted to get him on board.
The two-time EHF Champions League winner will have no problems settling in and still produces at an international level at the age of 36.
You would imagine he will be used primarily as a right back, but he can also share time on the wing with the impressive Mohammad Sanad and will be key in helping to guide the club through the pitfalls of European competition.
9. Omar Ingi Magnusson (from Aalborg Handbold to SC Magdeburg)
Produced by the impressive Icelandic talent factory in Selfoss, Omar Ingi Magnusson has already built a reputation for himself at the age of 23, accruing almost a half-century of appearances for Iceland already.
With Albin Lagergren leaving for Löwen and Kay Smits returning to Denmark, Magdeburg’s right back spot is there for the taking. Coach Bennet Wiegert has proven himself a wise collector of the right talent for his team and you feel that this could be the beginning of a long and happy relationship.
8. Rene Toft Hansen (from SL Benfica to Bjerringbro-Silkeborg)
The elder Toft Hansen brother appears to be following in the footsteps of Jesper Nøddesbo and Michael V. Knudsen, two other great Danish line players who chose to see out the rest of their career at Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.
Toft Hansen’s vast experience with Kiel, coupled with recent spells at Veszprém and Benfica, mean he will be able to help his new club navigate the variety of challenges posed across Europe at this level – a strong signing for the much-changed Danish club.
7. Stipe Mandalinic (from Füchse Berlin to HC Eurofarm Pelister)
Having been cut loose by the Füchse Berlin in the midst of the global health crisis, Stipe Mandalinic has chosen to go down the path less trodden with a move from the Bundesliga to a new project at HC Eurofarm Pelister.
The 27-year-old left back has shown flashes of brilliance over the years, but never really delivered on a consistent basis. This is his big chance to become an instant hero in Bitola and it will not take long to see whether the move has paid off for both parties.
6. Timo Kastening (from TSV Hannover-Burgdorf to MT Melsungen)
One of two fascinating signings for Melsungen this summer, alongside goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter. Timo Kastening broke into the German team for EHF EURO 2020 and certainly did not disappoint, but there have been some questions about both the motivation behind both player and club in this move.
The only thing keeping this move relatively low on the list is that he will be joining fellow German international Tobias Reichmann on the right wing, a man who will have no intention of playing second fiddle.
Nevertheless, at 25, Kastening is a signing for the long-term and a good one at that.
5. Alexis Borges (from FC Porto Sofarma to Montpellier HB)
Montpellier have done very well here. Alexis Borges is flying into the peak of his career and you get the feeling that he will enjoy being a part of this team, working alongside exciting, creative and athletic playmakers, much like at his former club Porto.
The Cuban-born Portuguese international could be the man to fill the gaping hole left behind by Ludovic Fabregas on the line after winning the EHF Champions League in 2018. At the very least, he will form an imposing duo in that position with Frederic Pettersson.
4. Julen Aguinagalde (PGE VIVE Kielce to Bidasoa Irun)
This is a beautiful transfer. Having made himself a hero at Kielce, Julen Aguinagalde finally returns home to Irun and the club which helped make him the man he is.
With his brother Gurutz running the club, the brothers will be working together for the first time in 15 years and at the age of 37, Julen is still a very capable and skilful operator on the line, adding something special to the Bidasoa squad which impressed in last season’s EHF Champions League.
3. Lasse Andersson (from Barça to Füchse Berlin)
It is time for Lasse Andersson to make a name and a home for himself at a top club and this could be the right fit.
The 26-year-old left back has done incredibly well to overcome his injury nightmares and reach a high level again, but he never really owned his position in Barcelona. Berlin will give him a chance to be a star and this may turn out to be a match made in handball heaven.
2. Lukas Nilsson (from THW Kiel to Rhein-Neckar Löwen)
Will be considered many people’s number one among this group of transfers, but Nilsson is a man who needs to rediscover his form, having fallen down the pecking order at Kiel and Sander Sagosen’s arrival left even less playing time for him in the back court.
The Swede has proven himself on many an occasion in recent years and there is every reason to suggest he will rediscover that form with Rhein-Neckar Löwen, playing alongside Andy Schmid. Great move for the 23-year-old and his new employers.
1. Morten Olsen (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf to GOG)
Yes, he is 35, but there is plenty of fight left in this dog. Morten Olsen’s career is enjoying Indian summer at the moment. Brilliant at the closing stages at last year’s World Championship and dishing out the goals and assists like nobody’s business in the Bundesliga.
Hannover’s loss is easily GOG’s gain here and their young and exciting squad will benefit to no end with Olsen’s power, vision and experience, paired beautifully with the addition of Anders Zachariassen on the line, joining from Flensburg.