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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Anzhi Makhachkala on a mission to dominate Europe?

Before 2011 little was known of Anzhi Makhachkala from outside of Russia. Formed in 1991, Anzhi or "Daghi" as they are often called joined the Russian second league a year later before entering the Premier League 4 years later. Another few seasons of ups and downs continued before the fortunes changed in 2011 when billionaire Suleyman Kerimov took over the reigns.  

The winter transfer window saw Anzhi pull of a number of coups - most notably left back Roberto Carlos.  At 37, Carlos was or is no spring chicken yet the former Real Madrid defender still was a class above the other Makachala players.  At the end of the transfer window Anzhi pounced to sign former Chelsea and Ajax midfielder Mbark Boussoufka from Anderlecht. Another good signing for the little known club.

Then the summer window opened and Anzhi again looked to splash the cash.  A player linked with the club for a number of weeks was Cameroonian hitman Samuel Eto'o. Eto'o, a former Real Madrid youth teamer that was deamed not good enough and sold to Real Mallorca for around 4 million Euros had hit the headlines in recent years for his goalscoring exploits for Real's great rivals Barcelona where he found the net 108 times in 145 appearences. From here Eto'o was involved in a swap deal with Internazionale involving their forward, Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  Ibrahimovic and Eto'o eventually swapped between Inter and Barcelona with the Catalan's also sending £50 million to Inter as part of the deal.

Similarly to the West Ham deals involving Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano's transfers from Corinthians, Anzhi supporters felt it was too good to be true and yet, late in August Eto'o ended up signing for Anzhi for around £25 million - Sending a real message of intent to the world that they mean business. Eto'o is now reportadly the highest paid footballer in the world, 10 million Euros per season for the next three years.

In the same window Makhachkala completed deals for the highly rated Hungarian winger Balazs Dzsudzsak from PSV Eindhoven and Russian international defender Yury Zhirkov from Chelsea.

Eto'o's goals could fire Anzhi to Champions League glory
So, will we see "Dikaya Diviziya" in a Champions League semi-final or final soon? I think we may do. With a billionaire owner with plenty of money to spend on top class players like Samuel Eto'o I see no reason why not. Maybe in about 4 or 5 years Anzhi may have a team of superstars. Of sourse, the manager at Makachula will have to make sure the player's egos are all in check and make sure that all the team are happy but now the world knows about Russian moneybags Anzhi Makhachkala. The money and the quality of player that they have there have put them on the map for sure and who knows, Anzhi maybe just maybe a force to be reckoned with in a while. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Internazionale... in fact the world beware because the Anzhi Express train has only started pulling out of the station and it wont be long until it arrives at a Champions League game near you.

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