Nicolae Stanciu 20 Midfielder Steaua Bucuresti Romania
2013 has been…
A reasonable transition. Nicolae Stanciu, he of quick feet, sharp turns, bursts into the box and an extremely strong line in dipping volleys was never likely to stay at Vaslui forever. Having already trialled, and impressed, at a number of European clubs the young midfielder had decided to remain in Romania where he was improving steadily each week rather than occupying the reserve team bench for one of the continent’s more affluent outfits.
2013 was all about moving forward in all senses of the word, but 2012 provided the stand out moment in Stanciu’s career so far. A well-taken penalty at the San Siro in a Europa League qualifier against Inter was a special moment, and, having not long since turned 19, offered a taste of the high life that Stanciu must surely crave. However it was the bread and butter (or Romanian equivalent) of Liga 1 football that would nourish the development of a talented midfielder as he helped Vaslui finish fifth, just outside of European qualification for this year.
By the time the season had ended a deal to take Stanciu from Vaslui to Romania’s leading lights Steaua had long been concluded. Switching clubs for around one million Euros, Steaua, recognising the potential of their newly acquired midfielder, included a €20m release clause, lest any clubs expect a cheap deal for a player expected to do well.
Making his debut for Steaua in the Supercupa victory over Petrolul Ploiesti, Stanciu was a medal winner in his first game and quickly won over home fans with his pace and willingness to attack defenders at any given opportunity. His goal, the opener, against Legia Warsaw helped Steaua secure qualification for the group stages of this year’s Champions League, repaying the outlay of his transfer fee several times over.
Since his debut Stanciu has been a regular starter for Steaua, but is often withdrawn by coach Laurentiu Reghecampf for tactical and occasional fitness issues. In most cases, Steaua are already ahead in the matches and Stanciu, who often looks visibly drained as minutes tick by, makes way for a more defensive minded replacement. That said he did play the full ninety minutes against Chelsea, one of several games that have provided the youngster with vital Champions League experience.
After winning nine out of their opening ten matches, Steaua have ‘done a Roma’ and choked a little of late. Although the team remains unbeaten in the league, and will probably triumph again at the end of the season, four straight draws and some negative performances have put a little pressure on coach Reghecampf.
Whether this will have any bearing on Stanciu is difficult to say at this stage, the club have bought with one eye on the future and bought well. While some observers will suggest that fellow youngster Gabriel Iancu is the more talented player at Steaua, Stanciu looks the one better placed in terms of opportunity and attitude as we move forward.
There are a lot of raw edges to work through, we would like to see a little more from the left foot especially, but a real talent is there and international recognition cannot be far off. If Stanciu can deliver a decent goal tally by the end of the season, and really lead his team from the front, Romania will have a huge talent on their hands.
"Looked bright and the fans like his personality, courage to take the game forward and try things up front, even if he doesn't always succeed, but he needs to start scoring, a problem for all of Steaua's attacking midfielders. Also needs more strength and hopefully he'll get that with Steaua's renowned fitness regime." - Radu Baicu, Romanian Scout
C Edging forwards, let rip