One thing is quite clear: Hulk isn’t happy playing in Russia for Zenit, and he wants out. Whether or not Chelsea and Tottenham have actually made offers for him is a different matter, and will probably be cleared up in the next month or so.
It’s not quite clear how much Zenit paid to Porto, Hulk and several agents to complete the transfer last season, but it’s probably close to £50 million, or just shy of that number. To say he’s a flop would be slightly exaggerating, but it would be safe to say he disappointed during his time in Russia.
It probably had to do with the Russian players almost rebelling the moment he arrived due to his wages. Racist incidents are nothing new in the Russian Premier League and didn’t help him feel any better. He ended up scoring only 11 goals in 30 matches, as Zenit lost their league title, finishing second behind CSKA Moscow.
Now, Hulk seems to be trying to push himself out of the club, and he himself is declaring there’s plenty of interest in him, with Chelsea and Tottenham personally trying to persuade him to join. The problem? Zenit might not be so willing to let him go, at least not for a reduced price; not yet.
These approaches do exist. There are lots of clubs interested in me though. Zenit is a great club, but if I do go I want to move to a better place, with a better team in a better competition.
After spending so much on him, no one expects Zenit to sell him for less than £35-40 million, unless they’re really pressed to get rid of him. Chelsea failed to make the right kind of offer for him last season, never going above £35 million in their negotiations with Porto, and it’s hard to believe Tottenham will spend that amount as well.
As for where he’d prefer going? Champions League football, probably, is the main incentive to try and join another club, which Tottenham can’t offer, but Andre Villas-Boas was his manager during Hulk’s best season in his career, and that might be the deciding factor if the two teams actually make bids that are accepted.