No country for old Russians
With Yury Zhirkov already plying his trade in Anzhi, and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov packing his bags and heading to Moscow, only two Russians remain in the Premier League, Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Are their days in London also numbered?
Euro 2008 and Russian internationals’ subsequent exodus seem nothing but fond memories for Russian fans t hermes uk hree and a half years later.
Now it’s time to admit that none of this quartet made many headlines on the pitch, failing to repeat the deeds of Andrey Kanchelskis, the most successful Russian footballer in Foggy Albion. All four have more in common with another post Soviet star Andrey Shevchenko, who would prefer to erase the Chelsea period of his career from his mind.
As for Yury Zhirkov, he could blame bad luck. First a series of injuries, then the dismissal of head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who lured the Russian international from CSKA, and the arrival of Andre Villas Boas, who couldn’t find a place for him in the team, effectively put an end to his time at Chelsea.
The likes of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Roman Pavlyuchenko, in their turn, could say they didn’t really get a chance to hermes uk show their skills in their teams, while the latter did his best despite being sidelined for most of his stay hermes uk with Tottenham. SuperPav managed to net 53 goals in 135 games for Spurs, having started almost half of those games on the bench. His performance hasn’t impressed manager Harry Redknapp though, who on the one hand continues to claim how important Roman is for the club, but at the same time keeps the “Sleeping Giant” on the bench.
From left: forward Roman Pavlyuchenko and midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf)
All this hardly prepares Russia’s main weapon at Euro 2008 for a repeat performance at Euro 2012, which Pavlyuchenko realizes. He has been linked many times with Russian Premier League sides, including his former team Spartak Moscow, but Tottenham’s owners are asking upwards of 12 million for the 30 year old, which no prospective buyer has so far been prepared to pay. This time, however, Lokomotiv Moscow look determined to grab the forward at any cost, which means that Tottenham president Daniel Levy might agree to finally let Roman go.
Bilyaletdinov appeared on the pitch even less often than Pavlyuchenko. So his recent move from sinking Everton to Spartak Moscow, where no doubt he will get much more practice before heading to Euro 2012, was wise and timely. The only question now is how comfortable the former Lokomotiv Moscow captain will feel with his former team’s cross town rivals. But given the lack of comparability between the numbers of Spartak and Lokomotiv fans, there will be many more people supporting the 26 year old.
Finally, to Andrey Arshavin. The most prolific Russian in the league is obviously experiencing the worst days in his career, due mostly to reasons which only the Russian can name. His latest errors put him at loggerheads not only with Arsenal fans, but with his own teammates. Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville recently called him the least “interested” player in the league. Curiously enough, he was often referred to in similar terms during his last year in Russia before moving to England.
Perhaps it’s high time to move back. However, his return to Russia this winter Anzhi and his former club Zenit St Petersburg are the most likely destinations is highly unlikely. So he has several months to prove he is worth something in England, before heading back to Russia. One thing he knows for sure, no matter what his performance is with the Gunners, Dick Advocaat still considers him a key element in the Russian national side. But would the Russian be satisfied claiming his place in the side hermes uk for Euro 2012 only due to his old reputation?