You’re forgiven for wondering where on earth Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala has suddenly emerged from. Without the dynamism of better known Russian sides likes Dinamo Moscow, these Russian minnows have stolen the headlines from even England’s nouveau riche football club owners. If you believe the gossip rags, it’s a matter of days before they also steal one of modern era’s best strikers, 30-year-old Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o. By KHADIJA PATEL.
In a transfer set to propel Eto’o to becoming the best paid footballer in the world, Anzhi is expected to give Eto’o a three-year contract worth $29 million per season while Inter Milan has been negotiating with Anzhi officials in Milan for a transfer fee between $29 and $43 million.
In an era of financial meltdowns and forced austerity, just how is this Russian side funding their little operation?
Anzhi is based from in the restive Russian province of Dagestan and is owned by billionaire oil tycoon Suleiman Kerimov. Forbes magazine’s estimates Kerimov’s net worth to be a cool $7.8 billion. Kerimov, purchased the club in January this year but it’s subsequently been revealed that he was gifted the club by Dagestan President Magomedsalam Magomedov in exchange for financial support. Kerimov has quite an elaborate plan for the club, including an over $ 200 million injection into improving infrastructure, a substantial amount of which will go in building of a new stadium with a capacity of more than 50,000 spectators. The club is captained by Brazilian Roberto Carlos and the club’s players are said to live and train in Moscow and fly in for home matches.
As Eto’o and Anzhi haggle over the fine print of his contract, Inter are reported to be already scouring the European leagues for a replacement for the Cameroonian front man. Among the name linked to a possible Inter move are Carlos Tevez and Diego Forlan. DM
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