How ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star's training ground bust-up was pivotal in current Anzhi chaos

Lassana Diarra

A training ground coming together between Igor Denisov and Lassana Diarra was reportedly the final straw for Anzhi Makhachkala owner Suleiman Kerimov.

As you all probably know by now there is trouble in paradise, that is if your idea of paradise is the region of Dagestan in Russia.

Well the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos and Guus Hiddink have all considered that fact recently - all of course handsomely compensated for their switch.

But Anzhi Makhachkala are now said to be on the verge of a complete and rather sudden revamp by their controversial and charismatic owner Suleiman Kerimov.

They are prepared to sack Rene Meulensteen as head coach before he can even sharpen a pencil.

They are set to give back Alexander Kokorin, their €19 million summer signing, to Dynamo Moscow. They are placing the likes of Willian, Samuel Eto’o and Lacina Traore on the transfer list.

They have even pulled the plug on a new training ground build outside of Dagestan in order to return to their roots.

All in all - Anzhi is currently the scene of chaos.

So what on earth is going on?

There are reports of financial collapse but the general consensus is that the owner has become weary of his star-studded misfits - who have failed to bring him the Russian Premier League title and Champions League football he so craves.

For a while now there have been reports in Russia that the Anzhi camp was divided - between the Russians and foreigners.

And, it was a training ground brawl between new signing Igor Denisov and Lassana Diarra that reportedly acted as the straw that broke the camel’s back at the club.

Denisov completed a shock move to Anzhi from his beloved Zenit St Petersburg this summer. His final season at Zenit was awash with controversy - as he continually criticised the likes of Hulk and Axel Witsel.

He claimed that foreign players should not be paid more than the Russian players at the club - and he even reportedly went on strike for a while.

But this week he took his controversial reputation one step further.

His face-to-face moment with Diarra saw Samuel Eto’o pull the former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder away from the incident - before ordering all the foreign players to walk away from the training session.

The divide was now unfixable - and Kerimov has decided the only way to fix it is to return to the drawing board.

Reports this week suggest that Denisov could be on his way to Dynamo Moscow.

However the reality is that Anzhi are now ready to shift almost the entire squad, and focus on local young talent.

Blaming Diarra is harsh - as is blaming Denisov.

Kerimov had a dream of bringing glory to Dagestan- of conquering first Russia, and then Europe.

But bringing in this mixture of foreigners, non-Dagestan Russians and locals into the tinderbox that is the North Caucasus was always doomed for failure.

Now it seems, that this failure has been conceded.

image: © Free-ers

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