In a transfer market that has lost all sense of normality after Real Madrid’s unprecedented, though expected, spending spree, it’s tremendously difficult for any club to make a good, economic buy anymore. In fact, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he’ll be making no more signings this summer after players’ valuations have skyrocketed through the roof!
In such a scenario, Chelsea’s signing of Russian midfielder Yuri Zhirkov really is a great buy. The deal, reportedly worth ?18 m, will bring the ?Russian Ronaldo? to Stamford Bridge in a 3 year deal.
Who is Yuri Zhirkov?
Yuri Zhirkov is a member of the talented young Russian team which first made it’s mark by making the semifinal of Europe’s top international competition, Euro 2008. He’s the third young Russian star to join the Premiership after strikers Roman Pavlychenko and Andrei Arshavin were signed by Tottenham and Arsenal respectively, last year. Zhirkov is a fleet footed left winger, who also holds the capabilities of playing at the left back position (In fact, many a Chelsea fans believe that he’ll take the left back position away from Ashley Cole).
He first noteworthy performances come from his early days at CSKA Moscow, with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 2004-05, scoring in the final. He has also won the Russian Premier League with them in 2004 and 2005, and the Russia Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
What has he done to warrant such attention, you’d ask?
Russian coach Guus Hiddink (who was also interim manager at Chelsea) says that what makes him special is his ability to defend and track opponent players, apart from his innovative wing play.
He scored a remarkable individual goal against Hamburger SV in the UEFA Champions League 2007-07. The goal earned the honour of being called the best goal in the Champions League that year.
He also scored an amazing goal after a solo run from he left flank… a goal that had the makings of Ryan Giggs legendary effort in the FA Cup.
Yuri Zhirkov is a player who loves his football, and is committed to it in a big way. He is known for his hard work. In fact, he was so busy preparing for the Euro-08 Championships that he married his fiance during a training camp!
What Can We Expect?
It’ll be great to see Yuri strike a partnership with Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Joe Cole and the other heavyweights of the Chelsea midfield.
We, as Fantasy Premiership players, like to think in terms of how cost effective a player can be for our team. Well, I for one will most certainly have Yuri Zhirkov in my Fantasy team. I believe it’d be a good idea to buy him early when his price isn’t too high, because given his talent he is sure to break into Chelsea’s regular starting 11 pretty soon… and once that happens, his price is sure to rise substantially.
Be sure you think about having him in your team!