After billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov lost a reported $375 million from a stock plunge, Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala is set to sell most of its big-name players. Anzhi president Konstantin Remchukov said on Twitter that the club’s budget would be decreased by $50 to $70 million a year.
Kerimov is reported to be Russia’s 19th richest person, with a net worth of $7 billion. Uralkali, a potash producer in which he holds the majority of shares, is the stock that plummeted last week.
The owner took over the club in January 2011, pumping cash into the project to make it one of the most powerful teams in Europe, spending over $200 million on players before the wheels recently came off.
The club parted ways with its manager, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant at Manchester United, Rene Meulensteen, after just 16 days in charge.
Rumors are circulating that Samuel Eto’o (pictured), who makes a whopping $26 million a year at Anzhi, will sign for Chelsea. Serie A’s Napoli and Inter Milan could also be on the hunt for the 32-year-old’s signature, according to Sky Italia.
Russian media outlet R-Sport reported that national team captain Igor Denisov would be the first to leave Anzhi, having agreed to terms with Dinamo Moscow. Aleksandr Kokorin and Vladimir Gabulov have also attracted interest from Dinamo.
Lacina Traore could be on his way to Zenit St. Petersburg. Others, including Lassana Diarra, Willian, Chris Samba and Yuri Zhirkov, are also on their way out, if Russian reports are to be believed.
However, Anzhi refuted claims of a fire sale. On Wednesday, the club released a message about the club’s development strategy on its website:
Changes to the club’s budget are caused by the UEFA up-to-date requirements and linked with the club obligation to comply with financial Fair Play, at the same time, they won’t lead to considerable deformations in the team’s life and in the current structure of our club on the whole.
Modifications in the personnel policy will be oriented to a long-term prospect. However, it doesn’t suppose huge sale of the players or other actions, that were so heatedly debated in some mass media sources. The club will respect all contractual obligations towards the players.
It must be admitted, that the steps taken earlier, which aimed at the fastest achievement of the maximal sports result with the involvement of big signings — were of no success. It was also proven in the RPL opening matches. The team building will be based on a long-term perspective of the club development, that, indeed, implies concrete changes to the personnel staff.
Keep in mind that statement had to be translated from Russian to English before it was posted on Anzhi’s site, but its contradictory nature only serves to underline the uncertainty surrounding the club.
By the time the UEFA Europa League group stage kicks off, the team from Dagestan could have nearly none of the players who got it there.