Winter additions complete Europa League squads
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Willian, Lewis Holtby and Rolando are among the most prominent names to have been newly registered by the remaining clubs for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase.
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The remaining UEFA Europa League contenders have confirmed their squads for the round of 32 and beyond.
Under articles 18.18-21 of the official regulations, clubs can register up to three new players by 1 February, one of whom can have been fielded in a UEFA club competition group stage match for another club in the current season provided he has not played in the UEFA Europa League. Clubs may not exceed the maximum of 25 A-list players and also remain within the quota of locally trained players.
FC Anji Makhachkala have made perhaps the most eye-catching addition, naming Willian – a reported €35m addition from FC Shakhtar Donetsk – among their midfield options. Though he has added a scorer of four UEFA Champions League group stage goals to his squad, Guus Hiddink has lost the defensive strength of Christopher Samba following his move to Queens Park Rangers FC.
Among the favourites to lift the trophy in Amsterdam in May are FC Internazionale Milano, though they must now make do without striker Marko Livaja. The Croatian international, sent out on loan to Atalanta BC, was third in the overall scoring charts with four goals. Also no longer on Inter's roster are Wesley Sneijder, sold to Galatasaray AŞ, and Coutinho, now plying his trade with Liverpool FC. Much of the Nerazzurri's hope has been pinned on Mateo Kovačić, a big-money recruit from GNK Dinamo Zagreb.
While Liverpool are unable to call upon Coutinho or fellow January acquisition Daniel Sturridge for the remainder of their 2012/13 European exertions, Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC have added their marquee winter signing to their UEFA Europa League plans. Lewis Holtby, lured from FC Schalke 04 six months earlier than planned, looks likely to play a key role for André Villas-Boas's side.
Newcastle United FC, meanwhile, may no longer have Demba Ba at their disposal, but have made three notable additions to their squad in the shape of Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haïdara. With Chelsea unable to play Ba in Europe, the UEFA Champions League holders have called up Yossi Benayoun and Nathan Aké, captain of the Netherlands team that lifted last year's UEFA European Under-17 Championship.
Another youngster who will now be showcasing his talent in the UEFA Europa League is Isaac Cuenca, who has arrived on loan at AFC Ajax from FC Barcelona. Pavel Nekhaychik (FC BATE Borisov), Yann M'Vila (FC Rubin Kazan) and Rolando (SSC Napoli) are among the other significant new boys in the competition.