7 Standout Players In The Russian Top Tier Who Should Be Targeted By Premier League Clubs

Next in the series of who’s on offer is the Premier Liga which, for those of you that don’t know, is the Russian Premier League. The Russian are known for having billionaires that buy a lot of big players, but they usually move on in time due to the fact that another club is offering more. Or in the case of Anzhi Makhachkala, your owner losing large stacks of money meaning you have to sell top players to balance the books. Samuel Eto’o, for example, was sold because he was on astronomical wages. Anyway, that’s the political side of football talking, not what I want to focus on today because this article is all about the players. The Russian league is rich with talent, foreign and domestic. You only have to scratch below the surface a little bit to uncover a vast pool of talent. Here are seven I’ve picked out.

1. Hulk

 He’s a big player in Europe, and I don’t just mean physically – with a reputation as being a powerful winger with a rocket shot. Those attributes have earned big money moves from Japan to Portugal and from Portugal to Russia, but you get the feeling that his time in Russia is nearing an end and his next big money move will take place.

Chelsea are said to have a high interest in the player, as do Tottenham Hotspur, naturally, as 8 goals and 5 assists in 12 games is a very good record to have on your CV. People ask whether he’ll be able to hack it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke, but what some people fail to realise is that he has to travel to some of the coldest locations in Europe on a Tuesday night.

I think he can hack it.

2. Axel Witsel 

The big Belgian was another player to arrive from the Portuguese league in another big money move. The former Benfica man has been in Russia for just over a year now and looks to be settled but that hasn’t stopped his name appearing on some websites and national newspapers. He’s a player accused of choosing money over developing his career which the media have picked up on and just assume that if a better deal is offered he will take it.

3. Alan Dzagoev 

The Russian really made a name for himself at Euro 2012 because of his goals in the competition and his performances in general, but the spotlight was then focused on him after the competition ended because clubs finally took notice of how good he was. He was linked with clubs all over Europe but since then the speculation has died down which means that he’s still said to be available, and maybe at a reduced fee.

4. Igor Akinfeev 

The 27-year-old is billed as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe by many reporters and critics who have a good knowledge on Russian and European football in general. They can make that kind of statement. He’s earned 65 caps for Russia which could have been an even bigger sum had he not suffered from cruciate ligament damage twice in his career.

5. Igor Denisov 

Another Igor but not another goalkeeper but he is another very highly rated player. The 19-year-old has vast amounts of experience in the defensive midfield position and should be a cracking player for any team that is lucky enough to sign. He’s combative and aggressive, but very talented.

6. Salvatore Bocchetti 

The 26-year-old is an Italian centre back that has been turning out for Spartak Moscow since January after his move from Rubin Kazan. The defender is on the up in terms of performances for his team and is now getting all the recognition he deserves.

However, his name is yet to be splashed across English tabloids just yet, but I imagine if a team are looking for a solid centre back then Bocchetti is your man but he is injured until the middle of December which may put off some potential suitors.

7. Seydou Doumbia

 The Ivorian is currently on the same amount of goals and assists as Hulk but in two less games which is even more incredible than the Brazilian’s already brilliant stats. Doumbia has a history of scoring almost as many goals as he has appearances which makes for some good reading. Arsenal are known to be holding an interest in the player, whether they’ll take it any further is another question entirely.

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