According to the latest reports the former Porto striker is effectively at war with Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti with Hulk accusing his boss of mistreating him with routine substitutions in recent matches.
The news could put a number of clubs on red alert although clubs would be ill advised to try to sign the striker in January. FIFA rules state that a player cannot play for more than two clubs in a conventional season and as Hulk has played for Porto and Zenit so far this campaign, any Premier League side linked with him would not be able to play him over the second half of the season.
“If the conflict situation with Luciano Spalletti can’t be resolved, I’ll leave Zenit in January. I’m very angry at him. I moved to Zenit to play and not to be replaced in every game, I want to leave,” Hulk told Mediaset TV after a recent match.
Some transfer rumour sources have suggested that Chelsea will move to offer Hulk a way out. Chelsea need attacking support and someone to play the Didier Drogba style role, taking some of the pressure away from Fernando Torres. However, Zenit paid Porto 40 million Euros for his transfer so any deal is likely to involve big money.
The West London side look the most likely Premier League candidate for him because they have been consistently linked with him despite the fact he moved to Zenit. Reports started emerging that Chelsea could pounce as soon as news came out of Russia that there was a problem between Hulk and his current manager.
However, the club need to tread carefully because he would warrant a big contract. When Zenit signed Hulk, Igor Denisov, former captain, protested against the level of wages that the striker was earning which earned him a demotion from first team skipper to a qualified player in one of the youth teams.
If he does become available and his representatives suggest he is interested in a move to England then two other candidates for his signature could be Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs would be the favourites out of this pair because Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to allow such a volatile and selfish player come in and jeopardise everything he has so far achieved in terms of transforming Liverpool.
It’s clear he wants out of Russian football but he may have to make some sacrifices because there aren’t going to be many sides in the Premier League willing to break their wage structure for a player who can’t even play for half of next year.