Chairman Suleyman Kerimov is starting to recoup some of his investment in Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala after selling a handful of big-name stars in the past week. More sales are expected soon, with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool battling over Willian (pictured, right) and Samuel Eto’o (center) speaking with multiple clubs abroad.
Team captain Eto’o has been asked to stay until the winter transfer window to smooth some of the turnover, and he seems willing to remain in Russia and earn his massive paycheck for the time being.
(MORE: Russian super club Anzhi Makhachkala scrambling in budget crisis)
Others are already gone. Russian star Aleksandr Kokorin rejoined Dinamo Moscow just over a month after going the other direction. National teammates Yuri Zhirkov and Igor Denisov also joined Dinamo, the trio reportedly costing in the neighborhood of €45 million.
Mbark Boussoufa left for Lokomotiv Moscow, and Oleg Shatov signed with Zenit St. Petersburg. Zenit is now a favorite to win the Russian league after also picking up defender Igor Smolnikov from FC Krasnodar. He joins summer signings Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andrey Arshavin at Zenit.
Defender João Carlos is set to join Spartak Moscow, filling in a gap created when center back Salvatore Bocchetti tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday.
Anzhi’s two highest-profile foreign players, Eto’o and Willian, have been the subjects of much of the transfer drama surrounding the club. Liverpool put in a bid for Willian last week, but Tottenham may swoop in at the last second to finally sign the Brazilian for manager Andre Villas-Boas, who pursued Willian when he coached Chelsea.
Willian can play on the wing, adding fuel to the speculation that Gareth Bale may soon be on his way out at White Hart Lane. Anzhi’s asking price is around €35 million, according to The Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Eto’o’s agent is meeting with Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs in London on Tuesday, according to Sky Italia. He and Willian are the final remaining pieces of what was supposed to be a budding European superpower at Anzhi Makhachkala.
Now, it looks more like a ghost town, suddenly deserted after a period of big promise.