Dropping roughly $100 million in a day is no big deal if you are the world’s largest natural gas provider. Gazprom, the owner of Zenit St. Petersburg, bought football players Hulk and Witsel in hopes of winning the Champions League this year. The team has won the Russian Premier League the last two years, but was knocked out in the early stages of the Champions League each of those years. The team hopes these two players who got about $50 million each for five-year contract will bring home a Champions League title.
Zenit has been spending boatloads of money the past few years and a writer for International Business Time says these moves were solely based on the amount of money offered. “This transfer is definitely wrong turns for both Witsel and Hulk, incredibly silly choices for them. Money talks in football and this deal proves that statement more than any other deal in history.” He goes on to say that the players would have fit in better with English Premier teams Chelsea or Tottenham. Both clubs were interested, but could not find the money in time.
Others say Hulk and Witsel will fit in great at Zenit. These additions make them the clear favorite to win the Russian Premier League and much more of a threat in Champions League play.
Russia’s Rio Novosti quotes Zenit’s goalie Vyacheslav Malafeev saying, “It’ll be nothing surprising if Zenit win the Champions League in two years’ time.”
Weighing all the factors with the addition of two big names to Zenit, overall the pickups will be a good thing for the Russian Premier League. With Gazprom putting more and more money into the club more Russian owners will likely follow suit and the