When they said about Azmun, who was not yet twenty, that he was interesting to Arsenal, his then coach Rinat Bilyaletdinov ironically asked: “Which one, Tula?” Now everything is no joke: serious European names are literally swarming around Serdar, and such news no longer seems like a bluff to anyone. Dortmund, Sevilla, Valencia, Atalanta, Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Inter, Roma, Lyon – this is a summary of the rumors that accompanied the Iranian over the past year. Somewhere half of these sonorous names refer to this summer, and how can you not remember that there is no smoke without fire.
However, Serdar’s desire to one day go to the big European league has never been a special secret. Moreover, it naturally fit into the planned logic of his career development. It’s just that recently the moment of departure has ceased to be a vague future and has acquired quite visible features of the near future. Gennady Sergeevich Orlov, knowledgeable in Zenith affairs, informed in the winter that Azmun’s entourage was looking for European options for him that could be implemented in the summer transfer window. And in order to simplify the troubles of his intercessors, the forward played the spring just brilliantly – so much so that he was recognized as the best player in the RPL.
Photo: © FC Zenit
In general, the motives of the player in this plot are quite understandable. But it is perhaps more important for us to understand the motives of the club. How should Zenit treat this situation? Let go or hold?
To find the answer to this question, first you need to deal with something else: which side is Zenit’s priority – sports or economic? What is more important for the club – taking titles or raising funds? It is clear that it is desirable to combine both, but absolute harmony is idealism, but in reality any club tends to one thing. It is obvious that Zenit is leaning towards the result. Victory is more important for him than profit, since he is not particularly constrained in funds.
Photo: © Sergey Tsimmerman
Today’s Azmun is perfectly integrated into the Zenith game. Of course, this is the result of the hard work of the headquarters of Sergei Semak, but not only. As far as we know, Kurban Berdyev continued to give personal consultations to the striker, and given the latter’s sophistication in various tactical nuances and tricks, such work probably also contributed, on the one hand, to the complete fusion of the Iranian with the team’s game movement, and on the other, to the expansion of his attacking arsenal. …
It is no coincidence that the assessment of Georgy Djikia, who, comparing the Zenit forwards, called Dziuba predictably dangerous, and Azmun, unpredictably dangerous, seems to be no coincidence. Serdar has become a true all-rounder of the attack. He’s fast – and good outdoors. Leaping – and unforgiving when attacking from the air. Shrewd – and cunning when looking for free zones in the penalty area. Even one-on-one exits, which were his curse before, are now given much better. In which, in particular, Matvey Safonov could be convinced a few days ago.
Therefore, Zenit is now faced with an elementary question: if we sell Azmun, then who will we attack in the Champions League? Perhaps, in the Russian championship it will be possible to cope without it, due to the overall team strength, but what about in Europe? But in a reputational sense, it is the Champions League that looks like the spite of today’s St. Petersburg day. It is there that you have to prove your true caliber, convince the zoils and skeptics.
Yes, someone can be bought in return, but how smart would such an operation be? The thing is that the possible sums – both for the sale of Azmun and for the purchase of a replacement who meets the ambitions of the club – are spinning at the same mark, 20 million euros. But only the proceeds will not go to Zenit entirely: a fifth, or 20 percent, should go to Rubin, as it was prescribed when the forward moved from Kazan at the beginning of 2019. Plus, a potential rookie, if he comes from the big five league, is likely to be more expensive in terms of salary. But at the same time, there will be no guarantees of scoring from him. When will he be able to get along with the Zenith game as well as Azmun did? And wouldn’t he be mocking at first, as, for example, it happened with Malcolm?
From the point of view of Zenit, it makes sense to let Azmun go now only on one condition – big money. Such that you can take a decent replacement and still have. Although even this option will not be able to protect one hundred percent from loss of quality. Namely, sports quality is the most important for the club today. Therefore, ideally, it is desirable to keep the Iranian.
And there is no doubt that Zenit is working on this. The news that Serdar has been offered a new contract – the old one will expire at the end of this season – is readily believed. To cheer up both the footballer (with improved conditions) and yourself (by keeping the strongest player) is a perfectly reasonable step on the eve of the Champions League.