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Russian football clubs resort to contradictory strategies as UEFA closes transfer window

September 01, 2017, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Most of the transfer activities were made by Zenit St. Petersburg FC

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© Yegor Aleyev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. With the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) transfer window closed overnight on Friday, Russia’s leading football clubs came up with completely different resolutions regarding their teams’ rosters for upcoming tournaments.

Zenit St. Petersburg FC’s active trade

Most of the transfer activities were reported on behalf of Zenit St. Petersburg FC, which changed the head coach and purchased 11 new players. After Italy’s Roberto Mancini took the reins of the club in the capacity of the head coach the squad was beefed up with Argentineans (Leandro Paredes, Emanuel Mammana, Sebastian Driussi, Emiliano Rigoni and Matias Kranevitter), Russians (Daler Kuzyaev, Denis Terentyev, Aleksander Yerokhin, Dmitry Poloz), Ecuador’s Christian Naboa and Slovenia’s Miha Mevlja.

Argentinian Paredes’ trade was the most expensive transfer deal for the club, which, according website, amounted to 23 million euros ($27.3 million). In all, according to, Zenit St. Petersburg FC spent a total of 85 million euros (over $101 million) on transfer deals, which is not a record sum for the club compared with some 88 million euros ($105 million) spent in 2012.

The club, however, managed to trade out more players than acquired. Those, who parted ways with the club, are Brazil’s Giuliano (traded to Turkey’s Fenerbahce FC), Hernani (traded to French Saint-Etienne FC), Mauricio (terminated contract moving to Greek FC PAOK), French Yohan Mollo (terminated contract moving to England’s Fulham FC), Serbia’s Vukasin Jovanovic (moved to French FC Bordeaux), Luka Dordevic (moved to Arsenal Tula FC), Spain’s Javi Garcia (off to Spanish FC Betis), Portugal’s Luis Neto (moved to Turkey’s Fenerbahce FC), Belgium’s Nicolas Lombaerts (off to Belgian FC Oostende), Slovakia’s Robert Mak (went to PAOK FC), Russians Ibragim Tsallagov (Dinamo Moscow FC), Alexander Ryazantsev (Ural FC) and Artur Yusupov (Rostov FC).

On top of all, Portugal’s Danny, who had been the captain of the club, left Zenit since his contract expired and the club’s best scoring forward, Alexander Kerzhakov, wrapped up with his sports career.

Earlier media reports speculated that forward Artyom Dzyuba was most likely to leave either for Lokomotiv Moscow FC or Krasnodar FC, but he eventually decided to remain with Zenit St. Petersburg FC.

Zenit St. Petersburg FC earned more money than any other Russian football club trading out its players this summer (13.6 million euros), however, went into the red due to significant spending.

Zenit St. Petersburg FC President Sergey Fursenko told TASS earlier that the club would have no problems regarding UEFA’s financial fair-play regulations since it traded out players before and throughout the 2016/2017 season to a total sum of some 82 million euros.

Dynamic transfer deals yield only benefits for Zenit FC as of yet since the club is currently the leader in the Russian Championship after the eight rounds and qualified for the UEFA Europa League Group stage.

Spartak Moscow FC’s unrealized trade deals

During the closing day of the transfer window Spartak Moscow FC managed to enter a deal with Brazil’s Gremio FC on the purchase of Pedro Rocha for 12 million euros, having inked a deal before that on the lease of Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic from England’s Chelsea.

The club also leased Marko Petkovich from Crvena Zvezda FC and bought out a contract for Georgy Tigiev from Anzhi FC.

Spartak FC’s aims were initially higher as it intended to acquire from Gremio not Pedro Rocha, but the main star of the Brazilian team, Luan Vieira. The deal with the Brazilian star footballer did not go through.

The club also planned to purchase for 18 million euros French forward M’Baye Niang, but the footballer decided against moving to live in Russia. Spartak FC Head Coach Massimo Carrera repeatedly stated that he wanted to see playing for the club Spanish Valencia’s central defender Ezequiel Garay, who also used to play for Zenit St. Petersburg FC, but the possbile deal flopped.

Media reports on the last day of the open transfer window also suggested that Spartak FC reached an agreement with Italian Atlanta FC’s defender Rafael Toloi of Brazil, but eventually the documents were not signed.

Spartak Moscow FC also expressed great interest in the best striker of the previous two Russian championships, Fedor Smolov, but his Krasnodar FC asked for the transfer sum of 30 million euros and the planned deal was terminated.

Spartak Moscow FC’s unrealized trade contracts during the transfer window is not the only problem for the club since it is currently ranked 9th in the Russian championship and is facing the perspective of playing this month in UEFA Champions League in the capacity of the country’s champion.

Lokomotiv FC strikes deal with 2016 UEFA Euro Cup star; CSKA FC keeps saving money

Lokomotiv Moscow FC defeated CSKA Moscow 3-1 on July 21. Brazilian forward Ari, who was in Lokomotiv on lease from Krasnodar FC, scored two goals and some 20 minutes later ftare his second scored goal sustained an injury, which kept him idle for four months and left Lokomotiv without skilled forwards. The substitute for him was found only in late August, when the club signed a lease deal with French FC Lille taking its forward Eder, whose goal brought Portugal the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup’s champions title.

With Eder on the squad, Lokomotiv also took on board Poland’s winger Maciej Rybus, bought out the contract from Rubin FC on Georgia’s defender Solomon Kverkvelia, returned young forward Arshak Koryan from Dutch FC Vitesse, and received a gratis bonus in the person of goalkeeper Nikita Medvedev. The young goalkeeper set a record of scoreless time (988 minutes) playing for Rostov FC in the 2016/2017 season.

Russia’s defender Vyacheslav Karavayev from Czech FC Sparta was also close to join the squad of Lokomotiv FC, but his candidacy was rejected at the very last minute by club’s Head Coach Yury Syomin.

CSKA Moscow FC abstained from purchasing new players since 2013 and this year was not an exception. Moreover, the club also failed to extend its contract with Serbia’s left winger Zoran Tosic, who had been part of the club since 2010.

No matter what, but CSKA Moscow FC once again battled through to the 2017 UEFA Champions League group stage and already earned from UEFA at least 14.7 million euros due to its flawless performance during the qualifying stages of the prestigious European football clubs’ tournament.

New hopes for Rostov FC and Rubin FC

Rostov and Rubin football clubs underwent almost radical changes before the closure of the transfer window. The changes impacted both the managing administrations of the clubs and teams’ rosters.

Head Coach Kurban Berdyev, who turned Rostov FC in one of Russia’s strongest football clubs, returned to his previous post of the head coach of Rubin FC. Meanwhile, Belarusian expert Leonid Kuchuk took over Rostov FC as head coach. In the 2013/2014 season, Kuchuk led Lokomotiv Moscow FC to the bronze of the Russian championship.

Kuchuk and Berdyev are the coaches exploiting similar schemes and Rostov is currently playing as well as it used to under the previous management keeping 3rd place in the Russian championship. Rubin FC, which was rocked with enormous spending on players’ trade and disastrous performance at the Russian championship, was feeble at the start of the current season, but managed to come straight clinching to 5th position in the rating list.

Rubin FC parted with almost a dozen of players with the comeback of Berdyev, particularly those recruited before the start of the 2016/2017 season under Spanish Head Coach Javi Gracia. For instance, Brazil’s Jonathas was traded to Germany’s Hannover for 9 million euros.

Arriving from Rostov FC Berdyev took along Vladimir Granat, Soslan Dzhanayev, Fedor Kudryashov and Iran’s Sardar Azmoun. Rubin FC was also joined on August 31 by Spain’s Cesar Navas.

Transfer developments in other Russian FCs

Between six or eight new players joined each of Akhmat, Dinamo, Amkar, Ural nd Arsenal football clubs. Anzhi and Tosno football clubs went for an overall refurbishment of their squads while SKA Khabarovsk opted for recruiting a set of 12 rookies.

Russian football club Ufa from the republic of Bashkortostan was the least energetic during the open transfer window having signed up only three new players on its roster.

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