The Gambrinus foam has barely been wiped from Pavel Horvath’s mouth and yet I am pining for the new season to kick off. And without a major tournament vying for our attention this summer, although the Confederations Cup has been excellent so far, we have to feed off the transfer window for footballing nourishment.
Thankfully Mladá Boleslav have kept our plate’s full after being suspiciously active in the transfer market. Jiří Štajner, Antonin Rosa, Vojtěch Štěpán and Dušan Uškovič (2 week trial) have joined the club with likelihood of former hero Marek Matějovský returning too, in what looks to be a statement of intent for next season.
Gambrinus Liga champions, probably not. Top three finish, most definitely.
The arrival of Jiří Štajner from Slovan Liberec could be one of the signings of the summer. Ignore his age. Štajner, with his perfectly timed runs from midfield and incredible knack of scoring important goals, reminds me of a shiny headed Frank Lampard. The key, for Mladá Boleslav, is keeping their new signing fit.
It appears it wasn’t just me that was shocked to hear of Štajners move to Boleslav. “I was very surprised,” Liberec coach Jaroslav Šilhavý told idnes.cz “I can just thank him. During my tenure with the team Jiří Štajner was the architect of our game. For this I thank him, I was glad to be able to work with him.”
Under Šilhavý, the 37 year-old scored 32 goals in 80 league appearances from midfield, won the title in 2011/12 and was the catalyst for a nine game winning streak last season that saw them finish third and qualify for Europe. So it seems that Liberec’s loss will be Boleslav’s gain.
Last season Mladá Boleslav finished in a forgettable eighth position. No wins in their last seven league games and only two away wins all season ended their campaign on a sour note – not forgetting a cup final defeat on penalties to Jablonec rubbing further salt into the wounds – but their signing of Štajner and investment in the playing squad has caught the eye.
Czech bookmakers Fortuna have shortened their price on winning the league to 10.00 from 20.00 in wake of their transfer dealings so far, making them fourth favourites behind Liberec 9.00 Plzen 2.50 Sparta 2.20.
In all seriousness it’s hard to see the Gambrinus Liga title going anywhere apart from the Sparta or Plzen trophy cabinet but I expect Mladá Boleslav, who have no distraction of European football, to be right in the mix.