Sitting top of the Russian Premier League table after an unbeaten start to the new campaign, any doubts Zenit St Petersburg should have cashed in on Sardar Azmoun to Tottenham Hotspur have been emphatically dispelled.
After a handful of offers rolled in for the so-called ‘Iranian Messi’, from Rome to north London, it would have been easy for Zenit to grab the cash and give their coffers a post-pandemic boost.
But it speaks volumes on Zenit’s ambition they never thought about letting Azmoun go. They are the reigning Russian champions after all – and they’ve no interest in handing over their crown.
“I had offers from Lyon, Roma, Bayer and Tottenham. But all the proposals were rejected. This year I will not move anywhere,” admitted the £17 million-rated striker, a three-time Russian Premier League champion and scorer of 19 goals last season.
“I never said I was leaving Zenit. When Lyon made the first offer, Zenit rejected it immediately. I have a contract. Even if I wanted to leave, the club will not allow it.”
Tottenham target Azmoun can’t stop scoring
As it stands, Azmoun will leave the ‘Venice of the north’ on a free transfer when his contract expires in July 2022.
But while Zenit appear to have missed their chance to sell the former FC Rostov star for big money, another Russian Premier League title – and a decent run in the Champions League – would be some consolation.
This season Azmoun has six goals in seven games – a statement of intent from a striker desperate to go out on a high. The July/August player of the month award feels a fitting reward for a man who has set his sights on higher honours.
“Azmoun is a top-notch striker who scores a lot of goals and does so with amazing ease,” says teammate and former Barcelona winger Malcolm, via Zenit News.
“A real phenomenon!”