17-07-2003

Michal Papadopulos joins Arsenal after finally getting EU passport

Michal Papadopulos has finally received a Greek passport, clearing the way for a fairytale move from Banik Ostrava to one of Europe's biggest clubs, Arsenal. The EU passport means that the 18-year-old forward, whose grandfather was Greek, can get around regulations which prevent other Czechs joining European clubs at such a young age. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly extremely impressed by Papadopulos, who is still largely unknown here in the Czech Republic. Wenger was keen for the transfer to take place as soon as possible.

"For me it was very important that coach Wenger wanted me. He told me that himself, that he wanted me this year. I had expected I'd stay here at Banik for another year on loan, and then leave for England when the Czech Republic would be an EU member; that would have been much easier than it was now."

For Michal Papadopulos, securing an EU passport has brought an end to a period of frustration and confusion.

"I don't even know the date of my flight but it should be within a few days, I don't know the exact date. So far I have no idea what to expect when I get there. I haven't even been thinking about it too much. I said to myself that I'm still a Banik player until I actually have the contract in my hands."

Other football transfer news

Petr Vorisek is reportedly bound for France. A member of the Czech team which won the European Under 21 Championships last year, the Teplice midfielder has been attracting the interest of Rennes and Sochaux. Vorisek previously turned down a big money transfer to Russia. Sparta Prague, meanwhile, are said to be starting to sweat about the fact they have yet to sell their biggest asset, international full-back Zdenek Grygera. Having already signed eight players in the close season, Sparta's accountants would like to see some money on the other side of the balance sheet.

Only one player leaves Czech Extraliga for NHL during transfer season

Only one player left the Czech Extraliga for the NHL during the latter's transfer season: Sparta Prague's Petr Kadlec has signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers. Other Czech players, such as Pardubice's Petr Sykora and Ceske Budejovice's Milan Michalek would not accept the terms of NHL contracts they were offered.

Swiss Open winner Novak advances at Stuttgart

Czech number one Jiri Novak didn't have long to enjoy his win at the Swiss Open on Sunday: the 28-year-old travelled straight on to the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, where he is into the third round, after beating Sargis Sargsian of Armenia 6-4 6-4. His next opponent is Russia's Mikhail Youzhny.

17-07-2003