Towards the end of this summer’s transfer window, Crystal Palace were heavily linked with a move for CSKA Moscow’s 21-year-old striker Fedor Chalov but over the course of the current international break, our scouts have been watching a different Russian front-man, Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Artem Dzyuba.
At 31, he’s significantly older than the aforementioned Chalov but could potentially arrive and hit the ground running in January, given his experience and fine start to the new campaign in Zenit’s colours. Indeed, in just nine games and 733 minutes of football so far this term, he’s already racked up four goals and four assists; numbers which are always likely to attract admiring glances from clubs in Europe’s more glamorous leagues.
It’s not exactly a flash in the pan either, with Artem totalling 13 goals and 17 assists for the Russian Premier League outfit in 2018/19 campaign across 37 appearances, with a direct goal involvement for every 107 minutes of football he played. Of course, numbers like that must always be taken with a pinch of salt when you take into account the jump in quality between the Russian and English game but even so, it’s more than impressive enough to see why Palace may be considering making a move for him in the New Year.
With a contract that is set to expire next summer, it’s no wonder Everton, Wolves and Palace are credited with a live interest in landing Dzyuba. Admittedly, both the Toffees and Santo’s men are arguably more attractive prospects to a player making the switch to the UK but with Palace the most likely to give him regular starts of the three, it may not be a cut and dried call.
A deal of this nature is obviously dependant on Zenit themselves being willing to wave goodbye in January but should we be able to come to a mutually agreeable fee, he’s certainly not a player I’d turn my nose up at.