The RPL’s most powerful transfer campaign this winter
Anatoly Romanov February 12, 2024, 16:00 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Sochi took 2022 World Cup semi-finalist Sutormin and several other interesting players. And at the head is the former coach of the Spanish team.
Aleksey Sutormin, a candidate for the Russian national team, follows the well-trodden path from Zenit to Sochi. The RPL outsider rents the 30-year-old truck to the champion without the right to purchase until the end of this season. Why Sutormin and Sochi need each other is very clear: the footballer leaves for what he was missing in St. Petersburg, and the southern team receives a real boost in the fight for survival.
“We came to practice the game and help Sochi solve the team’s problems. The new team has Sutormin as a leader and main player,” commented agent Alexander Klyuev about the transfer of his client to the Championship.
Sochi, with the former coach of the Spanish team, already defeats CSKA
CSKA’s first winter defeat. This Sochi can stay in the RPL
Sutormin played for Zenit for four and a half years. It is impossible to evaluate this period unambiguously. On the one hand, Alexey became another Russian footballer who failed to establish himself in the St. Petersburg team. On the other hand, we must not forget that it was from Zenit that the Muscovite joined the Russian team, unexpectedly opening up in the right back position. Before that, in Orenburg he was placed as a winger, inside, winger, but still Sutormin was not perceived as a pure flank defender in the four. Sergei Semak tested Alexey in this position in 2020 and 2021 and everything went well. Karpin got the idea.
Thanks to Zenit, Sutormin played three games for the Russian national team as a right back and once even wore the captain’s armband. He then lost the competition to the top player for this position, Vyacheslav Karavaev, and Mario Fernández arrived in St. Petersburg last summer. As a result, Alexey leaves the champion club, but he is certainly not a weaker player than he arrived. But more experienced. Before Zenit, he only spent one season in the RPL.
“Sochi” now seems to be the most desperate team in the RPL: last place, four points from the play-off zone. But how the stranger’s face has changed during the winter! Take the same defense, for example. The losing team of the first part of the RPL season can start the second part of the championship with a powerful quartet of defenders Sutormin – Chistyakov – Drkusic – Attiyat-Allah. This is the medal contender level.
Chistyakov, like Sutormin, arrived on loan from Zenit and remains a candidate for the Russian national team. A defender with experience in the Champions League, he is perhaps the strongest center back in the RPL in terms of play on the second floor. Drkusic is a footballer for the Slovenian national team. Attiyat-Allah is a semi-finalist in the last world championship. Surprisingly, this left back barely played outside of Morocco at the age of 28, despite his status and his victory with Wydad in the African Champions League. “Sochi” got it for only 500,000 euros with an estimated cost of 2.5 million euros.
Yahya Attiyat Allah
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”
At the 2022 World Cup, Attiyat-Allah participated in the Moroccan team’s sensational passage to the semifinals. He came on as a substitute in the group stage matches against Croatia (0-0) and Belgium (2-0) and in the round of 16 with Spain (0-0, 3-0 pen.). And in the quarterfinals against Portugal (1-0) he was a great substitute for the injured Nussair Mazraoui of Bayern on the left flank of the defense. Not only did he work the full 90+ minutes, but he also provided an assist in the episode with Youssef En-Nesyri’s game-winning goal. He then came on as a substitute in the semi-finals with France (0-2) and played the entire match for third place with Croatia (1-2).
Under former Monaco and Spanish national team coach Robert Moreno, who managed Sochi in January, the club has already signed a dozen newcomers. We know someone better, like the defenders themselves or goalkeeper Maxim Rudakov, coming from Rostov as a free agent, one of the best goalkeepers in the Finnish championship in recent seasons. Some people we know less or don’t know at all. But we can say: Moreno asked to strengthen the midfield and the attack. Christian Noboa is gone, certainly a big loss for Sochi in terms of ball movement.
But at the same time three central midfielders arrived: the Chilean Ignacio Saavedra, the Austrian Aleksandar Jukic and the player of the Armenian national team Hovhannes Harutyunyan. Two Venezuelans appeared in the attack: Sergio Córdova and Saúl Guarirapa. In addition, the first is adapted to Europe, he played in the Bundesliga in Augsburg and Arminia, and was recently in Turkey.
It is quite possible that in the spring in Sochi they will show that even for 1 million euros (almost that amount, according to Transfermarkt, the South Club spent in the winter window) a strong gang can be formed. Something similar already existed in Sochi four years ago. Then the team also finished the first part of the RPL season in 16th place, Alexander Tochilin left and his place was taken by a new coach, Vladimir Fedotov. In winter, the club made several transfers, the key to which was the loan of Alexander Kokorin from Zenit. The striker restarted his career in the south of Russia, scoring 7 + 3 in 10 matches and helping the Sochi team survive in the elite.
Now, apparently, the new Kokorin for Sochi should be Cordoba. New Fedotov – Moreno. Frankly, there are some doubts about Robert, since at club level he did not reach either Monaco or Granada. And in general, Spanish coaches failed rather than succeeded in the RPL. But they learn from mistakes. If Moreno adapts to life and football in Russia, his team will surely surprise in the spring, after such a transfer campaign.