It is becoming more and more frequent that quality players are moving to unusual clubs because of huge money offers on transfers and wages.
Clubs like Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia have been buying big.
Samuel Eto'o signed for Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2011, and in his 1 year and 6 months at the club, he has only played in 40 games scoring 20 goals. This is not a great appearance record for a player of his ability. Eto'o is a player who should be appearing in the Champions League every year, rather than with a team struggling to score at home to Newcastle in the Europa League.
Although Anzhi's pull might not be taking part in a fantastic league or Champions League football guaranteed each season, the fact is they are paying players like Eto'o £350,000 a week under his current contract.
Anzhi also beat many clubs to the signature of Willian Berges da Silva from Shaktar Donetsk in the January transfer window for a reported £30 million, Tottenham Hotspur were at one point, favourites to sign the 24 year old.
Anzhi Makhachkala who were only founded in 1991, and had a less than successful life in the Russian league, until in 2011, the club was purchased by an oil and metal tycoon Suleiman Kerimov.
FC Zenit St Petersburg is a club with a long history in the Russian league. In December 2005, Gazprom bought the majority of the club and invested over $100 million, buying new players and building a new stadium.
In September 2012, Zenit were able to sign the highly rated Brazilian striker Hulk from Porto paying an astronomical £64 million on him and Axel Witsel. Hulk’s total of games played so far in Russia is 14 games, scoring 4 goals.
It is not just abroad that huge money is attracting players away from other clubs. In the English Premier League, Queens Park Rangers in 2011 were taken over by 47 year old Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian executive who is co-founder of the Tune group, chief executive of Air Asia, and team principle of Team Lotus the Formula 1 team.
QPR have been spending big since their take over, completely reinventing the squad with over 30 new players arriving at Loftus Road since 2011. Most recently, QPR have been successful in securing the signatures of Frenchman Loic Remy, and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar, not to mention the classy Spaniard Esteban Granero.
Is the trend of great players moving to these less than ‘world beating’ clubs, a horrible sign for the future? The day Lionel Messi leaves Spain to play in Russia, will be a sad day for football.
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