Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov is close to joining Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.

The Daily Mirror claims the 28-year-old is 'on the brink' of joining the rising force in Russian football, with Sky Sports News confirming the player is currently in talks with the side.

Zhirkov has found opportunities hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, making only 29 Barclays Premier League appearances for Chelsea since signing for £18 million in the summer of 2009.

The versatile left back has been unable to dislodge England international Ashley Cole from his position with the Blues, and made the majority of his appearances for Chelsea in a more advanced midfield position.


With Andre Villas-Boas eager to trim his squad whilst making funds available for transfer moves in August, Zhirkov could be the first senior player to leave Chelsea this summer as he looks for a return to his homeland.

An exit would also open the door for Patrick van Aanholt and Ryan Bertrand to compete behind Cole for a place in the Chelsea squad, which is taking shape with only 11 days until the first game of the season.

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