IN Group D of the Champions League Lokomotiv lost with the same score 1: 2 in both matches against the recent finalist of the tournament – Juventus. Having shown the meetings in Turin and Moscow, different in nature, the “railroad workers” looked worthy against the background of the eminent rival. As part of the “red-greens”, the leader of the attacks of the Russian club, Alexei Miranchuk, stood out qualitatively. Among other things, the 24-year-old midfielder has set a historic achievement: he became the first player after Cristiano Ronaldo to score against the Old Lady at home and away. But most importantly, with his play, the Russian footballer made the Bianconeri scouts draw attention to himself. And not only that, because the relatively low transfer cost of 16 million euros already allows a number of Italian clubs to queue up for a promising player.
It’s no secret that a couple of months ago, Sergei Semak’s team could have become the headliner of the summer transfer window of the Russian Premier League. In August, rumors leaked to the press about the interest of the St. Petersburg club in Alexei Miranchuk.
Moreover, the appetites of the “blue-white-blue” were not limited to their older brother. The Russian champion also wanted to buy Anton Miranchuk. According to some reports, an amount of 30 million euros was announced. However, then the management of Lokomotiv flatly refused to even consider the offer to sell.
The general director of Muscovites, Vasily Kiknadze, said that he was generally ready to talk with potential buyers only with an amount of 85 million euros. And then, adding “Why not,” he brought the numbers to a fantastic hundred million. This was the end of the negotiations between the clubs.
And after the double in the matches against the Italian grandee, Zenit again thought about buying the Miranchuks. We are talking about a transfer offer this winter. The club from the banks of the Neva can bring the price of the possible deal up to 50 million euros.
The other day, the head coach of the club, Sergei Semak, confirmed the team’s interest in the twins, but he was intrigued about the further development of events. Zenit showed interest in the brothers. The limit forces you to look for high-quality performers with Russian passports. Is the topic of such a transition closed? At the moment, yes, ”said the 43-year-old specialist.
However, during this time, no one removed the restrictions on foreign players. Moreover, the last matches of the Champions League against Leipzig (1: 2 away, 0: 2 – at home) revealed another problem of the team – a lack of movement in the middle lane. At the Gazprom-Arena, the Germans overwhelmed the hosts primarily with speed in the support zone.
A couple of destroyers Ozdoev-Barrios clearly could not provide the necessary creativity alone, over and over again working out from behind against the saturated center of “RB” with Timo Werner and Marcel Zabitzer at the edges. Paradoxically, one of the leaders of Zenit’s midfield in this match was the nominal full-back Douglas Santos.
Even Alexander Erokhin, who came on as a substitute to refresh the game, did not help the “blue-white-blue”. In this light, the possible purchase of one of the Miranchuks in winter will come in handy. But Alexei himself is not yet eager to change Moscow to St. Petersburg.
At the recent presentation of the new uniform of the Russian national team for the upcoming European Championship, the elder Miranchuk was one of the main characters. Answering the question of journalist Yuri Dud, which option he would prefer in case of a simultaneous proposal from Zenit and the European club, the midfielder said the following: “There is nothing to tell about Zenit’s interest, I will choose Europe”.
Nevertheless, the reigning champion of Russia will have to withstand intense competition from the Turin people. However, it is not yet known whether the Bianconeri intend to acquire both twins. The fact is that the younger Miranchuk is still recovering from the injury he received in September in the match against Sochi.
And the confident play of his older brother Alexei drew the attention of Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri. After the match in Turin, the 60-year-old specialist named Alexei as a member of the “railroad workers”. “I liked Miranchuk. His left leg is fine, ”he said.
It is reported that the sports director of the Turin superclub Fabio Paratici, after the recent Champions League matches, is personally monitoring the midfielder of the Russian national team. And the head coach of Loko, Yuri Semin, after the match in Moscow said that he was ready to let the talented midfielder go to only two European top clubs: Barcelona or Juventus.
There is a rational link in the black-and-white interest in the Miranchuks. Despite the fact that the mid-line of the champions of Italy is replete with star players, the center of the field looks quite old. Miralem Pjanic and Douglas Costa are 29 years old, Sami Khedira is 32. Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, who occasionally plays for Sarri on the right edge of midfield, is already 31 years old.
And this is not to mention Cristiano Ronaldo, who will turn 35 in February. The Portuguese himself said that this or next season may be his last in his career. Some fatigue in the actions of the Bianconeri attack leader was also felt in the matches against Loko. So, at the end of the meeting at the “RZD-Arena” the famous “seven” was replaced, which caused discontent among Ronaldo himself.
The footballer did not even shake hands with Maurizio Sarri, demonstratively walking past the head coach to the bench. After the game, the Italian specialist explained the forced replacement by the physical condition of Cristiano. “Already at the end of the first half, there were alarming signs, and in the second half, in some moments, when he was accelerating, there was something to worry about,” the coach admitted.
Juve tried to update the midfield last summer by making an offer to another midfielder of the Russian national team, Alexander Golovin. It was reported that the residents of Turin wanted to send a private jet to sign the midfielder of CSKA. But the footballer himself chose a less risky option for himself, going to Monaco.
In general, the transition of the Miranchuk brothers would have played for the future of the Italian grandee, adding the necessary lightness and freshness to the Juventus’ age middle line as a whole. And a bunch of twins with Paulo Dybala could well become a decoration of Serie A.
This variation appeared immediately after the game in Cherkizovo. It became known that on that day the scout of the bronze medalist of the Italian championship, Atalanta, was present at the stadium. Having become one of the discoveries of the last season, the bergamasks continue to amaze with their performance already in the current one.
Having lost the first game to Manchester City with a score of 1: 5, the Black-Blues worked on their mistakes and fought against the Citizens at the Athleti Azzurri stadium. The meeting in Italy ended in a 1: 1 draw. The hosts responded to Rahim Sterling’s goal with a beautiful header from ex-Spartak player Mario Pashalich.
Meanwhile, the representative of the club was already in rainy Moscow, watching the game of Alexei Miranchuk. The sudden interest of Italians is explained by the possible departure to England of the Ukrainian newcomer of the Bergamasks – Ruslan Malinovsky. Having moved from Genk in the summer for almost 14 million euros, the midfielder has already become interested in Chelsea.
True, it is not yet known how this decision is consistent with the transfer ban of the London club on the signing of players. Despite this, the Blues’ academy coach Claude Makelele was present at the Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev for the game of Ukraine against Portugal (2: 1) to personally review the 26-year-old midfielder’s case.
Then the Frenchman noted the midfielder of Atalanta in the composition of the “zhovto-blakitnykh”. “I’ll call Lampard. I see a three in Chelsea: Kant, Jorginho, Malinovsky. I’ve been looking after him for two years now, Ruslan is already on a pencil, ”he said.
In this context, the move of Alexei Miranchuk to Bergamo looks quite logical. The eldest of the brothers takes approximately the same position as the Ukrainian. Acting from the depths, he also loves to move to the center, creating free space on the way to someone else’s goalkeeper. In addition, both of them have a delivered blow from the left foot.
If this castling happens, then the Bergamo variant will be the most optimal for Alexey. Miranchuk will have a solid place in the starting lineup (unlike the same Juve) and practice in the Champions League (the Black-and-Blues have recently been steadily fighting for the top four in Serie A).
And the club’s fast combinational play will be a significant addition for the Russian midfielder, only to then move to the top European club.
Milan and Napoli
Rumors about the interest of the two clubs in the Lokomotiv midfielder were the last to appear in the Italian press. We are talking about an amount of 15-20 million euros for a player of the Russian national team. Both clubs are currently experiencing problems in the domestic league, being in the middle of the Serie A standings.
Napoli are already ten points behind the leader of Juventus, occupying the seventh line with 18 points. While Milan are at the bottom in 12th place, having only 13 points after 11 rounds.
This is not to mention the recent resignation from the post of head coach Marco Giampaolo. Stefano Pioli, who replaced him, has not yet corrected the situation in the best way. In four matches, two defeats and the same number of points. E
Whereas in the case of the Rossoneri, Milan fans have long been accustomed to the constant staff turnover on the coaching bench, Napoli is stuck in the league for game reasons.
There is only one victory in the last five matches. Yes, and with the effectiveness of the situation is not the best way. The last time more than two goals were scored by the Azzurri was in the game with Lecce (4: 1) almost two months ago. But the Neapolitans have always been in the lead in Serie A in terms of the number of goals per season.
The recent scandal of the head coach of the Neapolitans, Carlo Ancelotti, with the president of the club, heightened the situation to the limit. Due to the failure of the players to comply with the requirements of the president (De Laurentiis forbade the players to leave the base in connection with the latest results in the Champions League and Serie A), the case may go all the way to court.
If we compare Milan and Napoli, then for Miranchuk the variant with Naples looks more promising. Under Ancelotti, the club began to play more cautiously. However, quick combinational exits from defense to attack have not gone anywhere. And this is the element that Lokomotiv uses quite often.
And the attacking link of the Neapolitans (Callejon, Mertens, Insigne, Ruiz) is a company that will add even more variability to Alexei’s actions. And constant displacement, running behind defenders, opening at speed – the atmosphere in which the eldest of the twins always felt comfortable.
One thing is certain. The relatively low price tag for today (only 16 million euros) will further exacerbate the struggle for one of the leaders of Lokomotiv. It is quite possible that the previously listed number of clubs will increase by several more positions.
The excitement around promising young footballers in Europe is now more than ever. Moreover, when the current contracts of talented players come to an end (Alexey’s agreement with Lokomotiv expires in the summer of 2021). After all, this factor can significantly knock down the price tag in the direction necessary for the buyer.
In turn, it is far from the fact that the “railroad workers” themselves will agree to any tempting offer from abroad. After all, letting Miranchuk leave for an average European club at the height of his career is not the alignment that will guide Loko bosses this winter.