After a poor start to the season in Russia, Anzhi Makhachkala are in meltdown, with manager Rene Meulensteen already gone and big players set to follow as they attempt to slash their squad budget by over two thirds. We look at five Anzhi stars who could now be on their way to the Premier League.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk winger was consistently linked with Chelsea and Tottenham before rocking up in Dagestan only seven months ago in a £30m move. A switch to Stamford Bridge could now be back on at a reduced price, while Andre Villas-Boas will need cover on the left if Gareth Bale gets his move to Real Madrid and could make a bid for the Brazilian dribbler.
Combative midfielder Diarra – veteran of over 40 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth before his move to Real Madrid four years ago – is still only 28 and would be a solid replacement for Marouane Fellaini at Everton should the Belgian leave this summer.
With his old Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho looking for ways to bolster Chelsea’s striking options Eto’o, who has scored 98 league goals in 197 games during a 12-year career in Europe, could supplant misfiring Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge this season if the Blues stump-up for his colossal £130,000 a week net wages.
Former Blackburn captain Samba had a nightmare return to the Premier League in the second half of last season with QPR, but the Congo centre half’s four and a half years at Ewood Park – where he formed a formidable partnership with Ryan Nelson as Rovers notched up two top-10 finishes – suggests he would be a good acquisition at Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton, who shipped 60 Premier League goals last season and need extra presence at the back if they are to justify the 7/1 about them staying up this term.
The Ivory Coast international arrived at Anzhi last summer after an 18-goal season at rivals Kuban Krasnoda and managed just one strike less for Makhachkala in the last campaign. Liverpool have been linked in the past with the centre-forward, who is already in cracking form this season with three goals and two assists from the opening nine games.