VfB Stuttgart, threatened with relegation, lost their regular player Naouirou Ahamada shortly before the end of the transfer deadline and signed Genki Haraguchi and Gil Dias instead. The French midfielder Naouirou Ahamada (20) is about to move to Crystal Palace in the English Premier League and is expected to bring the Swabians twelve million euros.
A “fraction” of this sum will be invested in the two newcomers, said coach Bruno Labbadia. The Japanese international Haraguchi (31), who is at home in central midfield, comes from league rival Union Berlin and will sign until 2024. Outside player Gil (Benfica Lisbon/26) will be tied until 2025.
“It was not the plan to give up Naoui,” said coach Bruno Labbadia regretfully, “but the pressure is greater than what we would like. The club is above everything – and if the club says that the financial situation is like this, that we have to give him up, we also have to accept things that are not optimal for the sporting situation.”
Haraguchi brings “excellent footballing qualities and a wealth of experience,” said sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth. Gil is “flexible” and intended as a replacement for the injured Tiago Tomas, he added.
In the round of 16 of the cup on Tuesday (6 p.m.) at SC Paderborn, Labbadia expects “a hot challenge. They’re a top team in the second division – and we’re currently at the bottom of the table. But we’re favorites, no question.”
Paderborn have “a very committed team that has played a very good role in the second division in recent years,” said Labbadia: “They threw Werder Bremen out, a cup team, you don’t do that easily. We expected the intensity just as much as against Leipzig, we must have a very good day.”