Aleksey Miranchuk and The Unknown Truth

miranchuk cup

Truth has always been elusive, but one thing is certain: the higher up you go, the harder it gets to find it. That is the case of the Trump election, Area 51’s secrets or even more specifically of the Aleksey Miranchuk saga at Lokomotiv. The contract of the 21-year-old attacking midfielder runs out at the end of 2017 and nothing is clear at the moment. On the one hand, the Railwaymen are trying to persuade him to extend the deal on the best terms. On the other hand, all the best Russian best clubs want to snatch the wonderkid and to force his departure from Loko.

READ MORE: Ones to Watch: Aleksey Miranchuk

The situation is twisted and few people really know what’s going on in Miranchuk’s head. After months of dealings and relative calmness, it came as a surprise when Lokomotiv’s President Ilya Gerkus announced the end of negotiations on February 1: “Aleksey Miranchuk has decided he wants to leave Lokomotiv. That’s his own decision. Talks are now ongoing to sell him.”

However, it didn’t last long before the answer of Miranchuk’s agent Vadim Shpinev: “Talks on the new contract started in September. Shortly after, we were offered a contract which at 99% was satisfying for the player. Aleksey was ready to sign it, but wanted only to decrease the buy-out clause from €20M to €15M in order to favor his transfer to a good European club.”

At this point, Lokomotiv reportedly stopped dealing and rather preferred taking some time to think about it. In the meantime, sporting director Igor Korneev left the team and his place at the table was taken by the club’s lawyer Vasiliy Grischak: “When Loko showed up again, they offered us a new contract and made some terms to worse” – continued Shpinev.

READ MORE: Igor Korneev Leaves Lokomotiv

That was the turning point on the deal. Aleksey Miranchuk felt like his home club had left him alone and without regard. However, it’s worthsaying that last December Championat.com reported that Lokomotiv had offered him a new contract worth €1,2 annually plus bonus payments, which is a valuable bid for a player who is yet to really establish himself in the Russian Football Premier League. Despite recording just one goal and one assist, ‘Brat’, as he’s often called by his teammates, is arguably not only one of Loko’s key players but also one of the country’s brightest talents.

As happened with Rifat Zhemaletdinov, another bright youngster who also turned down Lokomotiv and instead moved to Rubin Kazan, the point is now to understand whether Miranchuk will make a move away from Cherkizovo in the name of money or for something deeper.

Brat is currently in Spain where he’s preparing for the second half of the season without problems. According to reports, a final decision should be made by February 10, just a day before the Red-greens start the third, and last, training camp in Marbella.

Despite the rumors of his departure, Miranchuk not only continues training, but also remains in head coach Yuri Semin’s starting line-up. “Miranchuk is still playing because he’s just better than his teammates. I hope that in the end he’ll stay with us” – the legendary coach explained. In the recent friendly Videoton, for instance, he not only provided a good performance but also a goal, which could be his last one for the club.

Miranchuk could follow in footsteps of former teammates

According to Sport Express, Lokomotiv have received three offers for Aleksey respectively from Krasnodar, Rubin and Zenit St. Petersburg, but Miranchuk has already expressed his wish to move to Kazan. That shouldn’t be surprising as Vadim Shpinev was the man behind the transfers to Georgiy Makhatadze and Rifat Zhemaletdinov to Tatarstan last summer, and now it’s clear he’s doing the same with Miranchuk. Is it based around money? Very likely. It’s well known how agents receive huge amounts of money during these transfers.

Hence, it appears that Miranchuk’s decision to leave Moscow is more related to money rather than for something else. Although some rumors claim he has problems with Semin, the truth is that Brat is just following the path of many Russian bright talents, whose careers were ruined by their agents’ bad decisions. Among them, there’s former Spartak wunderkind Aleksandr Pavlenko, who left the people’s team even though Stanislav Cherchesov used to trust in him, and now plays for FC Ural in the lower reaches of the RFPL.

His future is 99% certain to be at Rubin now. According to Life.ru, the clubs have found an agreement for a €7M transfer fee, while the 21 years-old midfielder should earn €3M for the next three years. That’s exaggerated money for a player who severely lacked character and stability in Moscow, and recorded just 0.2 goals and 1.8 shots per match, according to InStat.

“Aleksey wants to move to a club where he could move forward. Furthermore, in Rubin he wants to work with Spanish coaches” – Shpinev tried to explain.

A departure is risky for Miranchuk but lucrative for Lokomotiv

Moving to Kazan is a risky decision by Miranchuk though. First of all, it is not really a step up compared to Lokomotiv, and secondly he risks ending up on the bench due to Rubin’s strong midfield. With just a year-and-a-half to the World Cup, he could end up losing out on the experience of a lifetime, which would hurt not only him but also Russia.

On the other hand, however, losing him might not be the worst thing to happen to Lokomotiv, who shouldn’t be afraid of selling Miranchuk as he’s not an irreplaceable player. Loko’s academy, which is arguably the best one in Russia, provides multiple interesting and promising players to the first team each season. Ivan Galanin is now on the way and judging by his performance at the training camp in Spain, he’s ready to take this challenge.

Drawing conclusions is not easy, as only a bunch of people know all the details and shadows of this saga. Nevertheless, it’s not sustainable for Russian clubs to keep overpaying players who have barely demonstrated anything in their careers. Miranchuk should find in Kazan a large group of former Lokomotiv players who could help him to settle down to the team, so never say never. Generally speaking, everyone is skeptical about this transfer, but it’s up to Brat prove the haters wrong. He’s undoubtedly a quality players, but this saga clearly shows once again all of Russian football’s problems, which hides truths that we’ll never know.

 

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Author: Stefano Conforti

Half Russian, half Italian. Football writer and Lokomotiv Moscow supporter. Founder of the FCLMblog, the only blog about Lokomotiv outside Russia, and FCLMmagazine, which is the first magazine in English for an Eastern Europe football club. I’m interested in everything related to Russia and the post-Soviet world.

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