Igor Denisov has been linked with a number of clubs this week in the wake of the latest in a long line of controversies for the Zenit St Petersburg midfielder. The 28-year-old midfielder has been demoted to the youth team after an outburst regarding the summer acquisitions of Hulk from Porto and Axel Witsel from Benfica.
Denisov, who was recently made Russia captain by former England boss and incumbent at the Russian helm Fabio Capello, reportedly was furious after discovering the salary the club was paying each player considering such a move as disrespectful to the Russian players on which the clubs recent success has been built, such as Andrey Arshavin, Alexandr Anyukov and Alexander Kerzhakov; who himself was reprimanded for a similar discrepancy.
While there are now reports coming from Russia that the issue is behind them that remains to be seen as big clubs in Europe are immediately being drawn to the holding midfielder with magnificent technical and dribbling ability who has been pivotal in the emergence of Zenit St Petersburg as a European force and in Russia’s exciting style of play.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been mentioned but in recent years the propensity has been for Russian players to move to London when coming to our shores. Alexey Smertin and Yuriy Zhirkov both played for Chelsea and Roman Pavyluckenko to Tottenham. While his former team-mates Andrey Arshavin and Pavel Pogrebnyak moved to Arsenal and Fulham respectively, and while the latter now plays in Reading it is only a 30 minute drive from the capital.
So could Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham try lure him away from the club he has played with for 10 years?
Even if they could would they want to?
There is no doubting his ability, on a personal level I think he is one of the most overlooked midfield men in world football, and he was awarded the player of the season award in Russia last term; but his attitude and short fuse has certainly got him into trouble in the past.
In 2008 he refused to be on standby for Russia’s European Championship squad, much to the annoyance of then Russia chief Guus Hiddink. In 2010 it was reported that he had to be physically stopped from punching assistant coach and former team-mate at Zenit Vladislav Radimov and two months later he was the instigator of a mass brawl between Zenit and Spartak Moscow players and officials after verbally assaulting the Spartak manager Valery Karpin.
His latest indiscretion may not endear him on a personal level to Premier League suitors despite his excellent ability but he may be tempted with a move to England.
Despite his initial concerns Andrey Arshavin, a player Denisov will know well having played at Zenit with him for many a season, is now well known to love the country especially London and the education system. Something Denisov may consider seeing as he has three young children of his own.
So should your team move for Igor Denisov?
image: © PolandMFA