Lassana Diarra joins Russian revolution.
The 27-year-old former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder has completed a permanent switch to the big-spending Russian outfit alongside Nikita Burmistrov who has joined from Amkar Perm.
Anzhi chief executive Ayvaz Kaziakhmedo told the club’s official website: “The signings of these footballers totally correspond to the strategy of our club achieving top aims.
“We are confident that, together with Lassana and Nikita, the club will fight for the most prestigious titles.”
The experienced midfielder joins a host of high-profile names, including Samuel Eto’o, Christopher Samba and Yuri Zhirkov, in the ranks of the ambitious Dagestan club.
Diarra spent three-and-a-half seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu after joining from Portsmouth in January 2009.
The France international had also been a summer transfer target for AC Milan, who opted to sign Nigel de Jong from Manchester City instead.
Former Arsenal, Chelsea and Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra is the latest big name player to swap West for East, after joining mega-rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. The combative Frenchman follows Hulk and Axel Witsel, who both left Portugal’s Primiera Liga to join Anzhi’s rivals Zenit St Petersburg at the weekend.
Diarra will link-up with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Christopher Samba and Yuri Zhirkov at Anzhi, while Zenit remain interested in bringing Manchester United’s Nani and his compatriot Joao Moutinho to St Petersburg before the Russian transfer deadline on Friday.
Both superclubs already boast big-name managers, with Guus Hiddink, formerly of Real Madrid and Chelsea, at the helm of Anzhi and Luciano Spalletti, once Roma boss, now managing Zenit.
And there are further signs that Russia is proving increasingly attractive for Europe’s best players and managers. Highly-sought after ex-Croatia coach Slaven Bilic was continually linked with a Premier League move (and probably would have got one) before he took over at Lokomotiv Moscow and the former Hammer has already lured ex-Spurs stars Vedran Corluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko to the capital.
Meanwhile, up the road at Spartak Moscow, highly-rated young Spanish coach Unai Emery has a multinational squad at his disposal, including Irish international Aiden McGeady, former Everton star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and a number of Brazilians.
The emergence of PSG as a super-power has certain boosted Ligue 1 but as more and more quality players and coaches pack their bags for Russia, there is growing argument that it is becoming one of the stronger leagues on the continent.
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