Fedor Smolov went into the World Cup as Russia’s great hope and first choice centre-forward. That didn’t last long.
The Krasnodar talisman failed to make any sort of impact in 70 minutes on the pitch in the opening 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for him, replacement Artem Dzyuba scored a clinical header minutes after coming off the bench and has stayed in the XI ever since.
So despite an admirable scoring record in the Russian league over the last few years, where he has scored 52 goals in 73 games, Smolov’s World Cup struggles should make any Premier League suitors think twice.
Sport Express report that a Crystal Palace side desperately in need of a new goalscorer are keeping a close eye on Smolov, who has one year left on his current contract at Krasnodar and has previously expressed an interest in playing in England.
The Hammers, like Palace, left a lot to be desired going forward in 2017/18 with Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez struggling to find their shooting boots for much of the campaign.
But Smolov’s no-show at the World Cup makes signing a 28-year-old striker from Russia seem all the more risky. If he cannot make an impression against a dismal Saudi Arabia side while offering next to nothing versus Russia or Uruguay either, how can he be expected to lead the line for a Premier League club?