Chelsea have been tracking Arsen Zakharyan for a couple years now, and even decided to make a late play for the young attacking midfielder in the summer transfer window, only to run into some rather obvious difficulties in trying to do business with a Russian Premier League club. While we were more than willing and able to pay Dynamo Moscow the €15m release clause in his contract, there were no obvious ways to get around the various sanctions and restrictions in effect following Russia’s (still ongoing!) invasion of Ukraine.
Both the player and his agent seemed confident right after that a deal in January would still get done, but said restrictions are still in place and according to recent comments from Dynamo CEO Pavel Pivovarov, there’s been “no communication” from Chelsea since. Granted, given the release clause, we don’t need to negotiate with them, we just need to pay up, but paying a team under sanctions is quite tricky indeed. (Speaking of which, how are those charities coming along, dearest UK Government?)
But Zakharyan maintains that things are still happening.
“I don’t think about it now. You can ask the club, my representatives. I think it’s all right. Negotiations are underway. But I will not reveal all the cards.”
-Arsen Zakharyan; source: Sport Express
I guess we’ll find out if he’s got the winning hand, or if he’s just bluffing.
The 19-year-old has continued to play a key role for Dynamo in the meantime, though it’s been a slightly underwhelming season so far, with questions about the young man’s motivations and effort levels, but also about the suitability of new head coach (and former Chelsea player) Slaviša Jokanović’s tactics.