6 Players Who Could Turn Out as the Best Value Signings of 2015

This summer’s transfer activity in Russia could be labelled slow and liturgical, however the majority of clubs have added quality and depth throughout their squads to compete on various forefronts ahead of the new season. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints placed on most clubs, spending in the league has been reduced in comparison to previous seasons so we have decided to have a look at the some of the best value signings this summer by Premier League clubs.

Artem Dzyuba – Zenit St. Petersburg

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Champions Zenit were under pressure this transfer window to attract the strongest Russian talent, in order to meet the criteria placed on Premier League clubs by the Russian Football Union, regarding foreign players. His move to Zenit went ahead despite opposition from Russian Sports Minister and former Zenit president Vitaly Mutko, who said he would prefer Dzyuba to stay at the club that developed him, Spartak Moscow. Despite the lack of support from Mutko, Dzyuba has started his Zenit career in fashion seen in his performances for the national side. In Dzyuba’s debut Zenit won the Super Cup, with a victory against Lokomotiv Moscow, and in his league debut he saw his new side beat his old rivales from Dinamo Moscow. Last week we saw his first goal, when he bagged the opening goal when Zenit chrushed Ural with 4-1 in Yekaterinburg. Should his form continue like he has started his Zenit career, he could end up becoming a favourite among the fans, despite his past at Zenit’s arch rival Spartak.

Fedor Smolov – FC Krasnodar

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He may be fighting personal issues off the field after his divorce from the model Victoria Lopyvera,but Fedor Smolov made sure his off-field battles didn’t affect his performances on the field when he almost single handed kept Ural in the top-flight last season. His Dinamo Moscow career struggled to get off the ground, and unsuccessful loan spells at Feyenoord and Anzhi made him a running joke in Russia, before he eventually joined Ural where his stature rose tenfold. A winning goal against parent club Dinamo last season went a long way secured him the interest of some of Russia’s biggest clubs. Despite being punished by UEFA for excessive spending, Krasnodar’s billionaire owner Sergei Galitsky, was quick to snap up the Russian international on a free transfer. Should Smolov be able to find form close to his time at Ural, there’s no denying it he may catapult Krasnodar in contention for the Europa League places. His Russian citizenship simply makes this deal even better.

Roman Pavlyuchenko – Kuban Krasnodar

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Once Russian football’s star striker and most expensive player, Pavlyuchenko’s career has taken somewhat of a turn since his return to Russia from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. The 33-year old has struggled to find the form so a move to Kuban may re-kindle the glory years that saw him earn a big money move to Juande Ramos’ Tottenham side in 2008. 15 league goals in three seasons at Lokomotiv Moscow made his reputation dwindle, and he is no longer Russia’s hottest striking option. Retirement from the national side followed  in 2013, and when the club announced that the striker would leave the club, Kuban snapped up Pavlyuchenko and former team-mate Andrei Arshavin. Kuban finished on a disappointing 10th place last season, and they changed head twice during the season. Goals have been lacking regarding both parties, and Super Pav on a free transfer could prove to be one of the signings of the season, if he he re-captures his form from the glory years at Spartak.

Delvin N’Dinga – Lokomotiv Moscow

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Having fought off interest from French clubs Saint-Étienne and Lille, Lokomotiv Moscow were victorious in the race to sign Congolese midfielder N’Dinga from AS Monaco. The dynamic, energetic, powerful midfielder spent two years on-loan at Olympiacos, where he was expected to stay on a permanent deal. A failure in personal demands saw a deal collapse, which left him open to a move away from France should interest be received. Desperately missing grit, steel and determination in midfield, Lokomotiv were quick to snap up the central-midfielder on-loan with the option to buy should his spell be successful. Lokomotiv have struggled to fill the void left by Lass Diarra and the injury-prone Dmitri Tarasov. N’Dinga comes with much required experience, as he on numerous occasions played in the Champions League during his time in Greece. The midfielder will wear the number 88 jersey, and will be keen to push his new side higher than the 8th place they finished on last season, as they have ambitions to compete for the much demanded Europa League places.

Vladimir Rykov – Mordovia Saransk

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Torpedo Moscow could argue they were unlucky to have been relegated from the Premier League last season, but without Vladimir Rykov there is no denying the club would have been relegated long before confirmation occurred on the final day of the season. Following the relegation and Torpedo’s massive financial issues both parties agreed to terminate his contract. His impressive displays for the struggling Moscow side caught the eye of many of the country’s larger clubs, who remained keen to sign up the 27 year-old on a free transfer. Personally, I can’t find a deal this summer that will prove better value for money than Rykov’s surprising move to Mordovia. Interest from Spartak Moscow was not enough to prevent him from signing from last season’s stragglers in Mordovia. Should Rykov re-capture the form of last season, he will be a great addition to Mordovia’s otherwise relatively weak team, and he could even land his first call-up to the national side.

Diniyar Bilyaledinov – Rubin Kazan

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One time Premier League Young Player of the Season, Bilyaledinov experienced a big money move to the English Premier League side Everton occur in 2009. Unfortunately, he struggled to display the form that once saw him highlighted as Russia’s potentially biggest talent. After three unsuccessful seasons the former Lokomotiv player came back to his home country where he joined city rival’s Spartak Moscow. However, three years later it is clear that Bilyaletdinov never reached the form that made him a star at Cherkizovo. Bilyaletdinov spent the last year and a half on loan spells with league stragglers Anzhi and Torpedo Moscow his contract eventually expired this summer. Europa League competing Rubin quickly signed the winger on a free transfer. Rubin, who are coached by his father Rinat, will be keen to rebuild Bilyaletdinov’s and hopefully further push Rubin higher up than their fifth place finish last season.


Follow Shane on Twitter: @FNN_Official

Author: Shane Burns

I am a final year history and economics student, as well as a Man City supporter. I may be the only Irish person to follow the Russian Premier League with such passion, but I like it that way. My love for Russian football stems back to the strike partnership of Love and Jo upfront for CSKA. These days, however, I can be seen following Torpedo or Dynamo.

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