What does Zenit’s double swoop mean for football?

With the transfer window slamming shut on Friday in England, many a football had expected the last of the big summer moves to have been completed, blissfully unaware of the current goings on in Russia. However, for Zenit St. Petersburg; it was simply the beginning of their shrewd attempts to land one of the biggest names in the game, that of Hulk.

The Brazilian is world renowned, with his muscular physique the reason he is named after the Marvel character and reports earlier in the summer suggested that a move to Chelsea was on the cards. Yet, despite reports a deal had gone through, the Champions League holders never managed to snare one of their top targets, despite the need for a front-man following the departure of Didier Drogba.

On Monday, a deal was finally completed that saw the powerful front-man completed a big money switch to the Russian giants, with FC Porto pocketing €50m for the deal as they looked to re-establish themselves as one of the game’s biggest threats. And it was just Hulk they bought in either; Zenit also secured the big money signing of Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel.

The Portuguese outfit pocketed around €30m for the Belgium midfielder as Zenit looked to outspend fellow Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala this summer, themselves bringing in Lassana Diarra from Real Madrid last week. Many were shocked by the duo’s respective choices to sign for the Russian giants, but it is hardly a surprise when you think about the figures being batted around.

Hulk, for example, will receive around €10m just have signed with Zenit and is set to pocket around €6.5m a year with his club. Witsel is unlikely to receive a similar amount, but his terms won’t be far off, with the 23-year-old expected to receive a hefty signing on fee and weekly wage. It goes to show the expansive levels of spending power currently in Russia, with Zenit managing to outspend the mega rich Anzhi this summer.

Whether this will set a dangerous precedent for future spending remains to be seen, but as mentioned; it is a clear example of the massive financial clout currently available to Russian teams at present. Cristiano Ronaldo recently insinuated that he could leave Real Madrid sooner rather than later and it is highly unlikely that any Russian team wouldn’t move for the mercurial Portugal star.

With Samuel Eto’o, seemingly, starting the trend for big named players to move to Eastern Europe, himself signing for Anzhi last year and earning a reported 60p per minute, was he just the first of many world renowned superstars to be convinced to ply their trade in Russia?