Chelsea Transfer News: Blues' Willian Hijack Demonstrates Roman Abramovich Pull
One of the quicker deals to have been resolved this summer, the news comes just a week after Anzhi Makhachkala announced that their entire playing staff would be transfer-listed in the hopes of attaining Russian Premier League success with a different tactic.
However, what’s most interesting about the late swoop is just how swiftly things turned in the favour of the Blues owner Roman Abramovich, a well-known Russian business magnate.
According to The Independent’s Sam Wallace, Abramovich personally moved to intercept Spurs’ move for the Brazilian by getting in touch with Anzhi owner, and fellow Russia oil tycoon, Suleyman Kerimov.
Chelsea’s owner has been known to inject such a touch every now and then when it comes to transfer business, but for Abramovich to become so intimately involved with a move is far from commonplace.
Not so long ago, Abramovich celebrated his 10-year anniversary in business with the club, but The Times’ Matthew Syed had some altogether less quaint words to say about the accolade when speaking on Sky Sports recently:
Back in 2012, Guus Hiddink, upon being named as coach of the Dagestan club, was reported by the Mirror's Paul Smith as describing Kerimov as being a “very close friend of Abramovich.” Of course, that’s not to say other billionaire owners don’t have similar relationships in their respective lives.
Do Chelsea need Willian or is this transfer mainly to not strengthen the club's opposition?
However, the affinity could be seen as a worrying one for other clubs considering the rise of spending in Russian football and its propensity to bring some of the world’s biggest players in only to be forced into selling them at a later stage.
In fairness, Anzhi is an extreme case of such an analogy, but the situation isn’t unheard of. For example, had Chelsea wished to purchase the wantaway Christopher Samba back in January, they certainly would have had an edge over their English opponents and could have beaten QPR to his signing.
This is backed up by the fact that Chelsea are also closing in on the signature of Samuel Eto’o, and the bond between Abramovich and Kerimov could give the Blues a form of first-option purchase on the striker, cornering their market.
Giggs-Boson moved to point out such an idea over Twitter:
Then there was the last minute emergency call Abramovich made to his oligarch friend at Anzhi. This was a £30 million panic buy.— giggs-boson (@giggs_boson) August 25, 2013
With the ongoing issue of racist Ultras at Zenit St. Petersburg, per Reuters, there’s no telling that Hulk and Axel Witsel won't be forced to move on from Russia in the coming seasons, and will Chelsea have priority listing then as a result of other Abramovich pulling power?
Of course, one can only speculate as to where else the Chelsea owner has friends in high-up places, but Kerimov isn’t the first figure to help the Blues in their cause, and he won’t be the last.
Take Vitesse Arnhem, for example. Recent seasons have seen the Eredivisie side form a link with Chelsea, with the English giants sending numerous youngsters to the Dutch club of late.
With Willian soon to be at their disposal, Chelsea have both strengthened their own squad but, perhaps more significantly, weakened Tottenham’s.
The North Londoners have made no bones about their feelings and the harsh reality of having the deal stolen out from under their noses, but that’s exactly what this is: a harsh reality.
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