Scouting Romania's Top Talents: 3 Midfielders Andre-Villas Boas Should Be Eyeing

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 12, 2013

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - AUGUST 21:  Gabriel Iancu of FC Steaua Bucuresti in action during the UEFA Champions League play-off first leg match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Legia Warszawa held on August 21, 2013 at the National Arena Stadium in Bucharest, Romania. (Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that he is eyeing yet more Romanian players this winter following the successful capture of Vlad Chiriches.

The centre-back joined Tottenham Hotspur from Steaua Bucharest in August for €9.5 million, and he's proven to be assured, solid and confident in his duties.

With Romanian football a growing market for talent and the national team improving rapidly, AVB appears keen to take advantage of any other bargain buys emerging from Liga I.

He told talkSPORT:

There are a couple of Romanian players who are very interesting, particularly at Steaua [Bucharest], but I cannot mention them for obvious reasons.

But I think there is always talent coming out of Romanian football. I think it’s always a market that we have to be aware of.

Who could he be targeting? We've provided a run-down of several of the latest talents set to don the Tricolorii strip in the near future.

 

Gabriel Iancu, Steaua Bucharest

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  Eden Hazard of Chelsea goes past the challenge from Gabriel Iancu  of Steaua during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and FC Steaua Bucuresti at Stamford Bridge on December 11, 2013 in London, England.
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Iancu, a 19-year-old attacking midfielder playing for Bucharest giants Steaua, has already made huge steps toward a successful career despite being so young.

He debuted in Liga II for Viitorul Constanta and achieved promotion to Liga I, where he played a bit-part season and helped the club to a healthy 13th-placed finish.

His six league goals and phenomenal buildup play convinced Steaua to take him on, parting with just €500,000 to lure him to the country's capital.

Iancu combines good speed, an excellent poise and centre of gravity and strong footballing instincts with wonderful technique and polish. He can play off either flank but prefers a central berth, but he wouldn't be anywhere near ready for the rigours of the Premier League just yet.

 

Niculae Stanciu, Steaua Bucharest

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  Ashley Cole of Chelsea goes past Nicolae Stanciu of Steaua during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and FC Steaua Bucuresti at Stamford Bridge on December 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Richar
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Also vying for a first-team spot at Steaua is Stanciu, another prodigious attacking midfield talent who can play a little deeper or on either flank if required.

Manager Laurentiu Reghecampf has a tough time balancing his midfield out each week, but opted to play both Stanciu and Iancu in a 4-1-4-1 formation at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League midweek.

Stanciu's technical skills shine in Liga I, but on the biggest stage, at a daunting Stamford Bridge, his work in closing down Frank Lampard really came to the fore; a willing runner, it seems, as well as an attacking dynamo.

 

Alexandru Maxim, VfB Stuttgart

Our final selection is Maxim, who despite playing for Bundesliga club Stuttgart, qualifies as talent "coming out of Romanian football" thanks to his use of Liga I side Pandurii as a stepping stone.

He's gone on to prosper in Germany since signing in 2013 for a relatively cheap €1.5 million, adopting a key role behind striker Vedad Ibisevic, and he's usually deployed as a No. 10 with freedom to dribble, create, pass and shoot.

His dead-ball skills make him a valuable commodity and it's no coincidence that since Maxim arrived at die Schwaben, their goals via set-pieces tally has soared.

I spoke privately to Otelul Galati midfielder Filip Ioan about emerging Romanian talent and he picked out Maxim as a figure his country can truly rally behind if they are to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.