Top 10 players up for grabs at Anzhi Makhachkala

Russian giants Anzhi Makhachkala are set to sack manager Rene Meulensteen (formerly first-team coach at Manchester United) after just 16 days in charge and have put their entire first-team squad on the transfer list.

The club’s owner Suleyman Kerimov and president Konstantin Remchukov have outlined their plans to develop their academy players and sell off their stars.

1) Willian

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder had only just arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk in January for €35 million but had previously been chased by Chelsea, amongst other European giants. The Blues could be tempted to reignite the flames of their interest in the Brazilian and Tottenham are also rumoured to be on his trail.

2) Samuel Eto’o

Chelsea are also rumoured to be interested in former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Eto’o. The 32-year-old Anzhi captain and Cameroon international is a little past his prime but is still well worth a goal or two as Jose Mourinho knows well from his days back at the San Siro when Eto’o helped Inter to become champions of Europe.

3) Igor Denisov

The 29-year-old Russian midfielder has spent his career in his homeland but could be tempted for a switch abroad if the right offer came in. The solid defensive midfielder had only just arrived from Zenit but could be back out the door before he’s even unpacked his luggage.

4) Lacina Traore

This 23-year-old Ivorian striker has a bright future ahead of him. He scored 19 goals in all competitions last term and added 9 assists to boot. Clubs like Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal could very well be tempted – he’d need a little time to develop but he could very well be ideally suited to the Premier League at 6ft8” tall with a real instinct for goals.

5) Aleksandr Kokorin

Another young striker that would suit Tottenham ideally as a successor to Roman Pavlyuchenko. The 22-year-old Russian striker has the potential to become a top goal poacher. He scored 10 goals in 22 appearances for Anzhi last season and could be available for around £12 million.

6) Lassana Diarra

This former Arsenal and Chelsea protégé transferred to Anzhi last year from Real Madrid. His relationship with Jose Mourinho could be enough to lure his Stamford Bridge or perhaps an Arsenal return could be on the cards – the Gunners are in the market for a powerful presence in defensive midfield and the 28-year-old France international would fit the bill.

7) Mbark Boussoufa

The 28-year-old attacking midfielder is another former Chelsea youth player. The Dutch-born Moroccan international has entered the final year of his contract at Anzhi. He made an impressive 18 assists in all competitions for the Russian outfit last term and could be the ideal maestro for a mid-table Premier League club to boost their creativity in midfield.

8) Jucilei

The 25-year-old Brazilian defensive midfielder began his career in his homeland with Corinthians before moving to Russia in a deal worth €10 million. At 6ft1” he’s dominant in the air, strong and powerful on the ground and could offer protection to the defence of potential suitors as well as flexibility as he can also cover as a centre-back.

9) Vladimir Gabulov

The 29-year-old Anzhi goalkeeper is experienced and could provide excellent cover at a club like Arsenal who are in the market for a stopper to challenge Wojceich Szczesny between the sticks. He’s played for a number of top Russian sides and could be tempted for a move abroad.

10) Mehdi Carcela-González

This 24-year-old attacking midfielder began his career in his native Belgium although he now plays as a Moroccan international. He can chip in with goals and assists (he made 7 assists for Anzhi last term), has a good work ethic and attitude and would be a bargain at around £4 million.

image: © eamoncurry

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