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AA Gent’s Struggle to Find Extra Players Before Deadline

© BELGIUM

Let it be Friday soon. At AA Gent they are still working overtime looking for extra players. Hein Vanhaezebrouck also indicated, the day before the deadline expires, that the Buffaloes were insufficiently prepared.

Wednesday January 31, 2024 at 4:11 PM

AA Gent only has one extra player compared to last weekend, Momo Sonko. However, he is not ready to start yet: he has just completed two weeks of preparation after the winter break. The question is whether the homework will be completed by Thursday evening, when the Buffaloes play in Sint-Truiden. On Wednesday, 3 p.m., there is still no extra defender.

“We actually knew in June that we had to get a defender. Especially when you hear that Watanabe and Nurio are supposed to be gone. A lot could have been solved if we had been better prepared. In Kortrijk they came to take players away every time, but there were always four ready. That was never a problem there. With us it is different and we carry that with us from the past. We weren’t ready for anything. We have now taken a new path, but I predicted that in the meeting with the new head of scouting: the time was too short. We weren’t ready before then. Everyone is very positive about that, I hear, but that is nothing to praise. What I mean? The scouting past.” Read: the departed head of scouting Samuel Cardenas, now succeeded by Marco Verheuge.

“We were able to replace Fofana with a few younger guys with talent. But we have not yet found the replacement in other lines. We are at the end of January and still hoping that something will happen. It could take another week before all the papers are in order. That is not an ideal situation. Everything must be ready today, so that tomorrow we may only have to prepare some papers.”

New addition Momo Sonko. — © BELGA

Matt Smets

What didn’t help: STVV defender Matte Smets (20) decided to stay at Stayen. “Matte had been on our radar for some time. I didn’t know it would be possible. Suddenly it turned out that it was. But you need three parties to achieve a transfer. In time he will take a step, but it just wasn’t the time, in the middle of a season in which he felt good. It probably didn’t make much difference. If we had achieved six out of six and been second, that might have been a little extra. But due to our poor start in January, there are a few men who are now wondering which way things are going. It is clear that we have not made a good impression in that regard. That all plays a role.

With which he also implicitly refers to Union striker Gustav Nilsson, another player who rejected an offer from AA Gent. “Without mentioning names, there are more who refused, yes. It is striking that it is mainly the players who play in the Belgian competition. We were close to several slopes, but in Belgium they were all closed. The foreigners may not be aware. (laughs) They think Ghent is a nice stepping stone. It is. We are moving to a new story. But in Belgium things are different. Now, the main reason isn’t. Everyone has their reasons.”

Matte Smets remains with STVV. — © Isosport

What about Cuypers?

While Stefan Mitrovic seems to be on his way to strengthening the defense, the question is what happens to Hugo Cuypers? And how happy is he with the words of his trainer last Saturday, when he indicated that Cuypers runs less these days? “I also talked to him about it. He doesn’t like hearing that. But he also admits that. Also that there are things going on. Seems logical to me. That’s human. Unconsciously, eh. He also says that he does not do this consciously, but he also notices it himself. There’s no problem there. It is never pleasant to hear that you are doing less well, but it is the reality. We don’t lie, do we? He understands that.” But will he still be there against STVV? “We’ll see about that.” Exciting.

Will the Buffaloes also lose Cuypers after Fofana and Orban? — © Isosport

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