Will Pelta’s Galacticos click, or will it be a failed summer of investment?
Last season: 11th
CZEFootball predicts: 4th
Odds: 10/1 (via Oddschecker)
Tomas Hubschman – The Czech international will act as a shield for the back four, but opponents should also fear his passing as well as his immaculate defensive work. His versatility could allow Silhavy to dabble with a back three occasionally mid-game, a tactic that worked wonderfully well for Slovan in 2011-12.
One to watch
Jose Romera – A product of the Levante youth system, Romera swapped the town of Gandia on Mediterranean coast for Prague when the right-back signed for Dukla in 2012. A consistent performer and a true ‘modern’ full-back, the Spaniard should flourish even further under Jaroslav Silhavy.
Miroslav Pelta casually reeled off name after name; targets that he believed would turn around the fortunes of Jablonec who were smarting after a dire campaign that saw the northern side finish the season in a lowly 11th position, below the likes of Jihlava, Brno and Banik Ostrava. Enough, he had decided, was enough. One by one his targets, his galacticos, arrived.
The biggest name by far to be tempted to the Chance Arena is Tomas Hubschman, who returns to the Czech Republic after a trophy-laden decade in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk. Not short of suitors, Hubschman eventually opted for a return to his homeland and the Synot Liga, rather than for Europa League contenders in (potentially) better paying countries. Whilst the defensive midfielder might not be the most attractive of players on the pitch, there is a type certain elegance to his simplicity and his presence is sure to be vital for this Jablonec side just as it was for the Czech Republic and Shakhtar Donetsk. Hubschman will be the rock, and chief galactico.
Another signing that will have a transformative impact on the Jablonec squad is that of another Tomas, Tomas Jun.
The left-winger, who is capable of playing anywhere along a front three, racked up some impressive statistics during his five year spell with Austria Vienna and his direct style will fit well into the greater Jablonec game-plan and, importantly, provide some balance to the front four. Sparta Prague and Viktoria Plzen aside, it’s hard to name a side that has a better duo of first-choice wingers in the division – if Jun starts out wide that is, there is every likelihood that he will be used as a direct threat through the centre.
But apart from marquee names Pelta has also ensured that Jablonec bought cleverly. Also heading north is Vlastimil Hruby who excelled in goal for Znojmo last season; Jose Romera, who bar Frantisek Rajtoral and Pavel Kaderabek has been the most consistent right-back in the league the past two years; the talented if wayward Martin Pospisil and two dependable and uncompromising defenders in Ludek Pernica and Milan Misun. Add to them Martin Dolezal, signed in a cloud of indignation and controversy from Sigma Olomouc last January, and Jablonec suddenly has become a mouth-watering entity.
The man tasked with ensuring that all these new faces integrate seamlessly is Jaroslav Silhavy, the man who led Slovan Liberec to a surprising league title a couple of seasons ago. With his contract in the shadow of the Jested mountain running down and both club and manager reaching an agreement that they would go their separate ways after a highly successful working relationship, Pelta swooped for his man and Silhavy agreed to make the short move south-east.
There is no denying Silhavy’s ability as his manager but his opening few months with Jablonec will likely be the toughest test he has faced in his career so far, including guiding a cash-strapped Liberec past Udinese and Freiburg to the latter stages of the Europa League.
If Silhavy can get everybody to gel quickly then Jablonec will be dark-horses. Devoid of European football will be a blessing, but if the club aren’t in the early rounds of the Europa League next season then Pelta’s Galactico’s will surely go down, collectively, as a failed enterprise.
In: Tomas Jun (Austria Vienna), Martin Pospisil (Sigma Olomouc), Ludek Pernica (Zbrojovka Brno), Jose Romera (Dukla Prague), Vlastimil Hruby (Znojmo), Tomas Hubschman (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Out: Tomas Jablonsky (Slovan Bratislava), Lukas Tresnak (released), Vukadin Vukadinovic (Slavia Prague, loan)
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 23rd July 2014