Zenit St. Petersburg’s Winter Dealings

After a solid first half to their season, Zenit St. Petersburg find themselves in second place of the Russian Football Premier League and through to the Round of 32 in the Europa League, after placing first in a group that featured Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Dundalk and AZ Alkmaar. In the months leading up to the January transfer window, it was widely speculated that one of Zenit’s most marketable players, Axel Witsel, could leave the club for as little as €6 million in January to Italian giants … [Read more...]

The threat from China on the RFPL

It’s January, and the start of a new transfer window is here. This usually creates a little buzz of excitement, in anticipation of the talent that potentially could be drafted in, however in Russia as is the case across the whole of Europe at the moment, the mood is that much more cautionary over players being tempted out, to China. The impact of the Chinese Super League’s rapid spending continues into yet another transfer window. Last year’s marquee signing of Hulk to Shanghai SIPG for £45m … [Read more...]

Zenit and the Winter Curse

CSKA Moscow have won three of the last four Russian championships, with Zenit St. Petersburg clinching the other. During these seasons, Zenit have been superior to CSKA, and everyone else, on the pitch in terms of quality, and this has shown in Europe especially where Zenit have outperformed the Army Men. Despite this however, CSKA ran away with the titles, with Zenit constantly falling short. In the 2012/13 season CSKA finished two points above the St. Petersburg outfit, and the following … [Read more...]

Russian Transfer Deadline Day LIVE

22:54 BST: Back to Yann M'Vila. There's a couple of images going round purportedly showing a dejected M'Vila posting on Instagram that he's not going to Sunderland. We shall see. *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    * Make sure to read Toke Theilade's piece from yesterday about which deals we could see go through today:  *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   … [Read more...]

Witsel Closing in on Zenit Exit

Although general director Maksim Mitrofanov recently denied that Zenit St. Petersburg’s so-called ‘Project Hulk & Witsel’ had failed, there is little doubt that the results delivered since the two signings from the summer of 2012 have fallen short of expectations. One meager championship and a cup trophy is all Zenit have won since the two stars moved to Russia, while the Round of 16 in the Champions League remains the best European result by the Blue-White-Sky Blues. Now however, it … [Read more...]

Hulk, Lombaerts and Witsel – How Lucescu Could Reshape Zenit

After only finishing third last season, it was expected that Zenit St. Petersburg’s newly appointed head coach Mircea Lucescu would make some changes this season. However, with no Champions League football in sight (unless FC Rostov are banned from European football because of Financial Fair Play irregulations) Zenit could be forced to sell players before starting to rejuvenate a squad where several key players are pushing 30, and where the youngest regular starter last season was 25-year-old … [Read more...]

Witsel Not Ruling Out Zenit Stay

The Belgian midfielder has attracted interest from Europe's big clubs but, in an interview with Match TV, Witsel claims he could still stay at Zenit. "I try not to open the newspapers but friends and relatives constantly call me and say something has been written about my future. It is fanastic if a big club is interested in me but right now I'm only thinking of Zenit and how to win the Russian championship." Hulk recently said that he had changed his mind thanks to Andre Villas Boas and … [Read more...]

Witsel, Financial Fair Play and Transfers Explained by Zenit Boss

Speaking to the Russian news agency TASS, Zenit’s General Director  Maksim Mitrofanov admits the club turned down €16m bid from Stoke City for midfielder Axel Witsel. Stoke later went onto sign Giannelli Imbula for a club record fee of £18.3m. Witsel joined from Benfica in 2012 and has been ever-present in the Zenit side since his arrival. Football Leaks leaked Witsel's transfer details back in February, and they revealed that Zenit sent €40m to Portugal in exchange for the Belgian … [Read more...]

Tactical Analysis. Benfica – Zenit

The ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about affection. Their language contained four words for the different types of affection that we as humans feel. One of these, storge, is used to describe the familial affection experienced by family members for each other, the affection one feels for a pet, or the affection Zenit have had recently for playing in Portugal. With the Russian champions having won their last three encounters on Portuguese soil, most of Zenit’s players no doubt have enjoyed … [Read more...]

Witsel Transfer Details Exposed

Football Leaks, a website dedicated to increasing transparency in the notarial closed football world through the exposure of leaked documents gained through various sources, has recently leaked the transfer details of Axel Witsel’s 2012 transfer from SL Benfica to Zenit St. Petersburg. Witsel is the third Zenit signing to get his transfer details leaked, as Football Leaks has already uploaded the details of both Hulk and Ezequiel Garay’s transfers to Russia. On the seven pages related to … [Read more...]