x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Anzhi Makhachkala player claims Chelsea defender Yuri Zhirkov to return to Russia

Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov is about to return to Russia and join Anzhi Makhachkala, according Rasim Tagirbekov, a prospective teammate.

Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov is about to return to Russia and join Anzhi Makhachkala, according Rasim Tagirbekov, a prospective teammate.

Widespread reports in Moscow claim the defender is on the brink of sealing a £13 million (Dh77.9m) move to the big-spending Anzhi, whose defender, Rasim Tagirbekov, has claimed Zhirkov has met with the club's squad and head coach Gadzhi Gadzhiev.

Tagirbekov told Russian newspaper Izvestia: "Of course, Yury is a great player. Everybody in the team is very glad that he will join our club.

"This transfer will strengthen Anzhi a lot. Zhirkov has already managed to talk to the team's head coach Gadzhi Gadzhiev and practically all the players."

According to Bobsoccer.ru, Zhirkov himself confirmed he had travelled to Russia, saying: "I have arrived for two days to spend my weekend here."

The sale of Zhirkov would free up space in Chelsea's 25-man English Premier League squad for another foreign player, with the club weighing up a third bid for Tottenham's Luka Modric.

Zhirkov, who turns 28 this month, has struggled to establish himself in the west London club's first team since moving from CSKA Moscow two years ago.

A knee injury hampered his progress but he has ultimately failed to depose Ashley Cole as first-choice left-back or force his way into midfield.