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When Anzhi Makhachkala Were Football's Big Spenders For Three Years

Ryan Sidle

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When Anzhi Makhachkala Were Football's Big Spenders For Three Years

Newcastle United could be on the verge of becoming football's next big super power but they'd do well to heed the warning from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

Back in January 2011 Anzhi were bought by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, months before PSG had their takeover and became super rich, and set about on his way to make the Daegestany side one of the best in Europe.

It started with a spending spree in the winter transfer window as the club bought five players worth around £28 million between them, having previously never spent more than £540,000 for a player.

Roberto Carlos also joined from Corinthians on a free transfer and in the summer he was joined by another modern legend in Samuel Eto'o, signed for £24 million from Inter, with the former Champions League winner becoming the world's highest paid player on a reported €20m-per-year after tax.

Eto'o playing against Liverpool in the Europa League. Image: PA Images
Eto'o playing against Liverpool in the Europa League. Image: PA Images

Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov also joined for £13.5 million and Balazs Dzsudzsak was signed for £12.6 million from PSV. They were soon joined by Christopher Samba in January 2012 from Blackburn Rovers, for the same price as Dzsudzsak.

The signings continued in 2012 with Lacina Traore and Lassana Diarra amongst those who joined the club and in early 2013 Willian was signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for £31.5 million, the club's record signing.

In summer 2013 Anzhi re-signed Samba, who had gone to QPR the previous January, and added Aleksandr Kokorin and Igor Denisov, amongst several others, for a total of £53 million.

But just weeks later Kerimov decided to cut the club's budget by two thirds and they had to sell their stars, including the three marquee names who had joined not long before, with Korokin never playing for the team and Denisov making just three appearances.


Willian, Kokorin, Denisov, Diarra, Zhirkov, Samba, Eto'o, Moubarak Boussoufa, Oleg Shatov and Vladimir Gabulov were amongst those sold that summer.

Afterwards Traore, Jucilei and Abdul Razak were amongst those sold or let go in January 2014, as the final signings of the rich couple of years were sold off.

Since then the club have only spent around £2.2 million on transfers, making nearly £9.5 million from sales in the same time.

Samba during his time in Russia. Image: PA Images
Samba during his time in Russia. Image: PA Images

Carlos was even interim manager during his time with the Russian club who replaced him with Guus Hiddink and the Dutchman was then replaced by Rene Mulensteen but the former Manchester United coach lasted just 16 days before the cuts and was sacked.

The club finished 11th, 5th and 3rd in their first three seasons in the Russian Premier League before finishing rock bottom in 16th after the huge budget cuts and winning just three games.

They did earn promotion back to the top tier straight away but after three seasons of near missed were relegated again at the end of last season.

For six months Anzhi were the world's big spenders but just two and a half years later it was all over, Newcastle United fans take heed.

Topics: Football News, PSG, Willian, Samuel Eto'o, Roberto Carlos, Russia

Ryan Sidle
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