Frank Lampard has been liked with a £15m annual salary deal to move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, FOOTBALLpress.net claims.
Anzhi have a new billionaire owner, Suleiman Kerimov, a friend of Roman Abramovich as it turns out, and he is now intent on giving the club a global presence.
During the summer they signed Roberto Carlos, Yuri Zhirkov and Samuel Eto’o, now they have been linked with Lampard as well as Steven Gerrard and Gennaro Gattuso.
It seems they are trying to assemble a team that would have been lethal five years ago.
The Eto’o deal was reportedly worth £26m, making him the highest paid footballer in the world on around £300,000 a week.
The current reactionary opinion at the moment is that, because Lampard was dropped by Fabio Capello against Bulgaria and then substituted against Manchester United, he is therefore past it.
Never mind that he was then picked again a few days later to face Wales and that Villas-Boas merely wanted to change Chelsea’s formation with the introduction of Nicholas Anelka.
No, his legs are gone and it’s time to ship him out to pastures new. Well he was never that fast in the first place, but would he really go to Anzhi Makhachkala, a club located in one of the remotest areas of Russia.
Only a couple of years ago he was linked with a move to Inter Milan, now it seems his level is the Caucasus, Makhachkala, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. It is actually nearer Tehran then Moscow and many travel websites warn against journeying to the region due to the high levels of criminality and rebel activity.
As the area Anzhi inhabits is not a particularly hospitable one, none of the players live there and in fact train near Moscow.
It has also been rumoured that as part of Eto’o deal he would still live in Italy and be flown to matches in the owner’s private jet.
Even Cristiano Ronaldo has not escaped a mention, and he did not rule out the possibility of a move to Russia, (presumably in about 10 years when his knees have gone).
Despite Kerimov’s links with Abramovich it is unlikely an English player would want to move to such an area of the world for any amount of money and players at their peak are still going to want to play a high level of domestic football, something that the Russian Premier League cannot offer.
But as Russian clubs seem to have found a niche as a gateway for young Brazilians and Africans into the Eurpoean big leagues, perhaps they can now be a stop-off for them too, as they collect a fat pay cheque on their way to a comfortable retirement.