Eight Zenit players whose contracts with the club end



Zenit, unlike other RPL clubs, did not finish the season on 22 July. The champions of Russia will play on July 25 in the final of the Russian Cup with the vice-champion of the FNL Khimki. So before next week it is hardly worth waiting for news from the St. Petersburg club on transfers and new contracts. But it is impossible to delay this matter either: the Zenit management must, within two weeks, before the start of the next season, resolve the issue with the players whose agreements end in the summer of 2020. There are eight such players: goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov, defenders Branislav Ivanovic, Igor Smolnikov, Yuri Zhirkov, midfielders Daler Kuzyaev, Oleg Shatovstriker Artyom Dzyubaand also a rented out defender Jordan Osorio… What is the situation with them today?

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Mikhail Kerzhakov

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

Kerzhakov played 17 matches this season, in which he conceded 15 goals and issued six “crackers”. Mikhail proved that he is in no way inferior to the “first number” of the team, Andrey Lunev. Zenit has two goalkeepers of equal class. Of course, the 33-year-old Kerzhakov is needed by the St. Petersburg club, and, according to available information, the parties have already agreed on a new contract. “With as many games as I have, I think I’m ready to play up to 50! There is no wear and tear, “Mikhail admitted in March in an interview for the official website of the blue-white-blue.

Branislav Ivanovic

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

Ivanovich is the captain of Zenit, one of the best, if not the best RPL defender. Branislav has 34 matches and four goals this season. However, in his case, the question rests on the terms of the contract and the age of the player. The 36-year-old Serb is said to be refusing to make significant pay cuts. Zenit itself would like to find a younger and faster central defender for the Champions League. Apparently, Ivanovich’s future in the St. Petersburg club depends on whether it will be possible to agree on the transfer of his replacement. The Championship has already reported that the champions of Russia are competing for Dejan Lovren from Liverpool.

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Jordan Osorio

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”

The situation with the Venezuelan defender is confusing. At first, in Portugal it was reported that Osorio, under the terms of a loan from Porto, must play five matches for Zenit in order to be bought out for 3.5 million euros. Then it became known that it was about five games in the Russian championship. One way or another, both conditions have already been met: Jordan played 16 matches (in the RPL – 7). However, on the day that Osorio entered the field for the fifth time in the championship, head coach Sergei Semak admitted that the buyback option was still not activated due to the insufficient number of games in the Venezuelan. Later, this information was confirmed by the general director of the club, Alexander Medvedev. According to the logic of things, Zenit, with the new limit for legionnaires “8 + 17”, only needs top foreigners for the base, and Osorio is still inferior in class to Ivanovich and Yaroslav Rakitsky.

Igor Smolnikov

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

Smolnikov ceased to be the main right-back of Zenit after the transfer of Vyacheslav Karavaev. In the 2019/2020 season, Igor took part in 18 matches, became the author of one goal and two assists. According to available information, the St. Petersburg club offered Smolnikov a new contract, however, the player was not satisfied with the conditions. Therefore, the defender is likely to leave Petersburg. Smolnikov’s agent spoke about three offers from Russia and options in Turkey, Belgium and MLS. According to rumors, he may return to Krasnodar.

Yuri Zhirkov

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

The 36-year-old wagon has had a fairly good season, despite the fact that he did not always get into Zenit’s base. Zhirkov played 27 matches, scored three goals and made five assists. In his case, leaving the St. Petersburg club will also be associated exclusively with age. Moreover, the champions of Russia were preparing a replacement for Zhirkov: last August they bought out and leased Danil Krugovoy to Ufa. It is possible that Yuri will also continue his career in another RPL club. They say Zhirkov’s services were offered to Lokomotiv and Krasnodar, and in his native Tambov, they will certainly be glad to see him.

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Daler Kuzyaev

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

According to the available information, Kuzyaev would rather remain at Zenit than leave the team. Although there is still no final decision. Daler looked so solid after the coronavirus pause that the St. Petersburg club, according to rumors, stepped up in negotiations and improved the proposal. The midfielder has played 27 matches this season, scored one goal and provided two assists. Zenit definitely needs his pupil. But it’s no secret that Kuzyaev wanted to play abroad, and he received offers from abroad. The media reported interest from Bordeaux, Marseille and Hoffenheim.

Oleg Shatov

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

“Championship” wrote back in April that Shatov had agreed with “Rubin” about the transition in the summer as a free agent. This means that the match against Khimki should be the last for the 29-year-old midfielder in the blue-white-blue lineup. This season, Oleg played 19 matches, in which he scored three goals and made six assists. Shatov had a decent career in St. Petersburg. He spent seven years in St. Petersburg (with the exception of a short loan to Krasnodar) and won six trophies, including three championship titles. If not for the injury, he could have remained the team leader until now.

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Artyom Dzyuba

Photo: Elena Razina, “Championship”

But Dziuba will remain in St. Petersburg. It would be strange if Zenit did not renew the contract with the captain of the Russian national team, the top scorer (along with Serdar Azmun “) and the best RPL assistant. In all tournaments this season, Artyom scored 20 goals and made 16 assists in 36 matches. Various sources claim that the 31-year-old center will sign a 2 + 1 contract, keeping his salary. Euro 2021 and World Cup 2022 are ahead, so Dziuba will definitely have enough motivation for two years. However, Zenit still needs to strengthen the line of attack, as there is no alternative to the pair Dzyuba – Azmun by and large.


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