Alan Dzagoev, who has carved out an absolutely great career as a club legend for CSKA Moscow, has been quoted in Sport Witness talking about a collapsed move to Chelsea long ago in the misty history of football.
The Russia international even came all the way to Stamford Bridge for a trial he says, before Avram Grant’s lack of interest scuppered the deal.
Roman Abramovich once had a real passion for trying to get Russian speakers in the team, including getting his old mate Andriy Shevchenko over from AC Milan, and we all remember Yuri Zhirkov and Alexei Smertin. Reading these quotes, it sounds like it was just down to a player to tell the billionaire that they fancied a shot in West London and they’d get a shot.
According to Dzagoev, around that time Abramovich came for him too, but various managers were less keen on signing the attacking midfielder.
“It’s true that Abramovich told us if we want to go to England, we just need to tell him. But at the time, the situation was a very confusing one for me. So, I decided to stay with the club,” the midfielder said.
He’s ended up with 342 appearances for CSKA, not a bad return. In hindsight, he probably made the right move.