Anzhi trump Russian rivals in transfer market
Russian Premier League teams strengthened their squads with over $100 million of purchases in the close season, even if some of the biggest buys have been from home rather than abroad.
By far the most active players on the transfer market have been Anzhi Makhachkala of Dagestan, making a series of apparently shrewd purchases that have dramatically shortened the odds of it winning the league for the first time.
According to Russia's Kommersant daily, Anzhi spent 51 million euros ($67 million, Â£44 million) in the close season, making them the fourth-biggest spending club in Europe and accounting for more than half the 91 million euros spent by Russian clubs as a whole.
Anzhi in the past netted foreign stars like Roberto Carlos of Brazil and Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon but this time targeted the domestic market.
Their biggest purchases have been Russian national team captain Igor Denisov from Zenit Saint Petersburg and fellow international star Alexander Kokorin from Dinamo Moscow.
They welcome back Christopher Samba to the defence from a stint at Queens Park Rangers while they can already boast Brazilian Willian, arguably the finest player currently performing in the ex-USSR, who arrived from Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk.
But other sides have not been inactive and Kommersant noted that the total spending of Russian sides was still the sixth biggest in Europe.
Reigning champions CSKA have largely held on to all the stars who brought them glory last year, including sharpshooting Brazilian Vagner Love. But they have added up-and-coming European midfielders Georgi Milanov of Bulgaria and Steven Zuber from Switzerland.
Zenit welcome back two of their former stars -- Anatoly Tymoshchuk from Bayern Munich and Andrei Arshavin from his unhappy time at Arsenal.
But both may already be too old to make much of an impact and the ambitious club owned by state gas giant Gazprom are likely eyeing more international signings.
Huge attention will be on whether Arshavin can recover his form of the past before he left for Arsenal but many commentators think he will have his work cut out to even make the first team.
Hoping to recover past glories after a slump, the coach of Russia's most decorated club, Spartak Moscow, Valery Karpin has brought in Tino Costa from Valencia and Denis Glushakov from Lokomotiv Moscow.
In: Steven Zuber (SWI), Georgi Milanov (BUL)
Out: None of note
In: Anatoly Tymoshchuk (UKR), Andrei Arshavin (RUS), Ivan Soloviev (RUS)
Out: Igor Denisov (RUS)
In: Alexander Kokorin (RUS), Igor denisov (RUS), Alexei Ionov (RUS), Mikhail Kerzhakov (RUS) Christopher Samba (CGO)
Out: Fedor Smolov (RUS), Serder Serderov (UZB), Emir Spahic (BIH)
In: Denis Glushakov (RUS), Tino Costa (ARG), Jose Manuel Jurado (ESP)
Out: Artem Dzyuba (RUS), Jano Ananidze (GEO), Nicolas Pareja (ARG), Demi de Zeeuw (NED)
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