Anzhi lure Zhirkov from Chelsea


Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala have signed left winger Yury Zhirkov from English Premier League giants Chelsea on a four-year transfer, Russian daily Sovietsky Sport reported Friday.
Anzhi has so far refused to make any comment on days of rumours that one of Russia’s top stars is returning to his homeland. But media reports claim Anzhi have payed Chelsea £13.2 million (15.2 million euros) for the 27-year-old Russian international.
Sports daily Sovietsky Sport said that Zhirkov has already signed the deal, while his wife Yulia is now seeking apartments in Moscow as the couple prepare to return home.
Zhirkov will reportedly receive a 5.5 million euro annual salary in Makhachkala to become the Russian league’s top earner.
Two years ago, Chelsea payed £18 million for Zhirkov to his previous club, CSKA Moscow.
However, Zhirkov failed to become an integral player for the London side. In the last two years he played 49 matches for Chelsea, scoring only one goal.
Anzhi are based in Makhachkala — the capital of Caucasus republic of Dagestan which is one of Russia’s most dangerous and unstable regions.
But in the last months they have showed huge ambition under new owner, oil and metals magnate Suleiman Kerimov, who purchased the club in January.
Earlier this year Anzhi bolstered their line-up by signing the veteran Brazilian star Roberto Carlos on a two-and-a-half year deal, one of the biggest names ever to play in the Russian league.
The 38-year-old 2002 World Cup winner is now the league’s top earner with a reported annual fee of five million euros payed to him by Kerimov.
Anzhi are currently sharing fourth spot in the league with 30 points from 18 matches.
Kerimov, who is also a Russian senator, showed his intent to raise Anzhi’s profile by signing another Brazilian international midfielder Jucilei da Silva from Carlos’ former club Corinthians for 11 million euros.
Kerimov is also set to construct new football stadium in the Caspian Sea city of Makhachkala, which is currently more known for militant attacks than the achievements of its football clubs.
For security reasons, the players live and train in the Moscow region but fly into Makhachlaka for home matches.