Football News

Dzyuba to Everton? Loyalty prevented the 2018 World Cup’s prime aerial threat from coming to England

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:16, 11 September 2019

Zenit Saint Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba has revealed he turned down the chance to join Everton in the January transfer window this year.

The 31-year-old claims he had the opportunity to leave Zenit for Everton in the winter but wanted to stay with his current club to help them win the Russian championship.

Why did Dzyuba turn down Everton? Five things to know…

  • No player won more aerial duels (42) at the 2018 World Cup than Dzyuba.
  • The striker rejected an Everton move in January to win the Russian title with Zenit.
  • Dzyuba feels he made the right decision as Zenit achieved their objective.
  • The “chemistry” he has with his teammates also played a part in his decision to stay.
  • But Dzyuba admits he hoped for a move away from the club this summer.

Dzyuba scored eight goals in 27 appearances as Zenit sealed the Russian Premier League title last season.

Speaking to the media in his home country, the Russia international said he made the right decision by staying put in January but hoped for a summer move that didn’t materialise.

“I signed a contract with [agent Jorge] Mendes. With his representatives,” he said. “Last winter there was a reality I could go, as I understand it, to Everton.

“But I didn’t want to. Because in the winter it would be wrong. We deserved to become champions of Russia. Everything went to this [objective].

“And as it turned out, I did the right thing, that I did not leave. In the summer, I really hoped that something would happen. But the specifics, unfortunately, were not [in place].

“Possible loans. Maybe something else. But only talk. I didn’t want to be pushed.”

Dzyuba played a starring role as Russia made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup they hosted in 2018, sitting level alongside England’s Harry Maguire with the most aerial duels won (42) at the tournament.

The striker also scored three goals, two of which came in the group stages. The other was a spot-kick against Spain in the Round of 16.

He was named Russia captain last year and has scored a total of 21 goals in 38 appearances for his country.

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“Good atmosphere” at Zenit thwarted Everton move – Dzyuba

Dzyuba went on to explain how the “good atmosphere” at Zenit – as well as the “chemistry” he enjoys with his fellow attackers – played a part in his decision to turn down Everton.

He added: “In addition to the fact that there were no specifics, in conversations with the Zenit leadership I heard pleasant words and decided that it would be right to stay.

“In general, [there were] a lot of factors. And the fact that there were no specifics, and the fact that we have a very good atmosphere in the team now, chemistry with the guys.

“I like to interact with Sebastian Driussi. With Sardar Azmoun. With our entire line of attack. I did not want to lose all this. We have a very good team.”