Tottenham Hotspur have finally completed the signing of Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest.
The right-footed centre-back will move to White Hart Lane from current Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest for a reported fee of €9.5 million.
Earlier this month the Romanian’s move to Spurs looked to be off when Steaua president Gigi Becali vetoed the transfer in sensational fashion. He took his one daily phone call from his current residence, the Rahova Penitentiary in Bucharest, to launch this tirade:
“Who are Tottenham?! Do not do any transfer, my name is Gigi Becali! I’m not a slave to anybody! We have an important game in the Champions League, why can’t they wait?
“Until winter he will not leave under any circumstances. This could be a blow to Chiriches, but he should understand. He owes a lot to Steaua. Things are good, we are in qualifying for the Champions League. We are in good shape.
“They made a big mistake. They sparked anger in Gigi,” Becali was quoted as saying to Steaua’s general manager Mihai Stoica.
Becali has had a change of heart since then as reports in Romania claim he has accepted that Chiriches’ departure is inevitable. Chiriches will join Tottenham after playing in the second leg of Steaua’s Champions League qualifying play-off against Legia Warsaw on August 29th.
The Romanian defender was reportedly also a target for Chelsea and Manchester City. Other clubs like Zenit, AC Milan and Roma had also been linked with the central defender
Romania coach Victor Piturca seems hopeful that Chiriches has what it takes to make it in the Premier League:
“I hope he can establish himself in England with Tottenham. We have had many examples of players who have failed to establish themselves and have lost their place in the national team.
“It will not be easy, even if he is extremely good. I’m sure he will be able to [establish himself], but it will not be easy because opponents in England are extremely good and must perform very well from game to game. His quality is tremendous,” he told Dolce Sport.
Chiriches (23) joined Steaua from Pandurii Targu Jiu in January 2012. He has played 62 games for the Red and Blues, scoring 4 goals.
Chiriches seems to be a rather cultured defender; he has never been sent off in his professional career and has only received 18 yellow cards in 140 appearances.
Chiriches made his debut for the Romanian national team in an international friendly against San Marino in August 2011. He has been capped 19 times by his country.