Alan Dzagoev is only 21, but his wonderful start to Euro 2012 might make him the next big Russian signing for Arsenal, who were equally impressed with Andrei Arshavin four years ago, although they didn’t get as much as they expected from that deal.
The 28 year old (at the time) was Arsenal’s most expensive purchase ever, leaving Zenit for £15 million after the Russian club feared he might leave for nothing if they kept stalling the sale. Eventually, Arshavin never lived up to the promise and to what he showcased in Euro 2008 with Russia.
There were always bright moments, especially when he saw Liverpool facing him, but his tally of 23 goals in 98 league matches; Only one goal this season in 19 appearances, many of them off the bench, sent Arshavin on loan back to Zenit, where he seems to be much more effective and comfortable.
But that doesn’t mean Arsenal aren’t in the market for another Russian starlet. Not that Arshavin has been so great to be deserving a ‘Next Arshavin’ label on anyone, but that’s what some have been calling 21 year old Alan Dzagoev, who was picked up by CSKA Moscow from his tiny second division club in the Ural-Povolzhye zone when he was only 17. He has since become a fan favorite among the CSKA fans, and probably the biggest and brightest star in the Russian Premier League.
But big tournaments are what convince club to spend the big money. He had a good campaign in the Champions League with CSKA, while his three goals in the first two matches of the Euro, against the Czech Republic and Poland, have convinced Arsenal to make a move for Dzagoev while trying to get rid of Arshavin.
With Dzagoev’s contract ending this December, a wealth of offers from the big leagues in Europe might convince CSKA to sell him, although Russian clubs like CSKA can offer pretty impressive wages to their biggest stars. Arsene Wenger will probably need around £13 million to pry Dzagoev away from the Russian capital.
Knowing he may be losing Robin van Persie this summer as the Dutchman, not having a great Euro so far, may be looking for more money in his bank account, easily found in a club that isn’t Arsenal. Manchester City perhaps. Olivier Giruod is also on the Arsenal shortlist, but he’s being chased by half the Bundesliga as well. It’s pretty certain that more names will pop up regarding Dzagoev once the Euro is over.