Russia's RT sports anchor Kate Partridge examines the prospect of Aiden McGeady moving to England and also Pavel Mamayev's claims of interest from Manchester United
With the summer transfer market now getting closer, talk of Aiden McGeady leaving Spartak Moscow for the Premier League is gaining momentum.
But I think it will take something special for him to quit Spartak, where he earns a reported £70,000 a week.
In January, he seemed all set for a UK return with a final-day move to Wigan Athletic for £5 million, but then did a last-minute U-turn. Since then, he has not given any reasons for this but a combination of a probable halving of his wages, intense media scrutiny, a relegation battle and low crowds, in contrast to another season on top dollar, probable Europa League football, adoring fans, the glamorously anonymous Moscow lifestyle and a guaranteed place in the Ireland squad probably all helped make up the 27-year-old’s mind!
McGeady and Spartak are having an uncertain season. With seven games to go, Spartak are seventh – 18 points adrift of leaders CSKA and 10 of second-placed Zenit, but could yet clinch a Europa League spot. McGeady could prove crucial in the end-of-season run-in and will look to boost a personal tally of three goals from 12 appearances.
The comment made by McGeady’s agent, Jan Dreyer, to the Scottish Daily Record in September that “if Spartak received a serious offer, Aiden would definitely consider it” did reach the Russian media, and has been percolating among fans ever since.
A quick thinker, with a burst of speed who can dribble, McGeady has adapted to Spartak’s style, acquiring more skills and options than the terrorising of left-backs. He is loved by the fans for his attitude and passion – a dozen bookings and two red cards attest to the latter – and can lead on the pitch as well as in the dressing room.
One pundit thinks Spartak would release him for an offer of around £7 million, while McGeady might request a transfer if he is fit but warming the bench. He gets on with coach Valery Karpin and enjoys life in Moscow, though he also has a girlfriend and now a young daughter’s future to consider.
Another player over here who could be seen in the Premier League next season is Pavel Mamayev, who has spoken this year of past interest from Manchester United.
He now plays primarily off the bench, as CSKA Moscow – unbeaten in five league games – march towards their first title since 2006.
In January, he claimed that in 2011, former United midfielder Zoran Tosic gave his contact details to some club agents and it turned out they were interested in signing him the following January. The transfer apparently failed because the club could not get a work permit, despite his two Russian caps.
Also during the recent winter break, the Internet went wild with rumours about an alleged gay relationship between Mamayev and Dynamo Moscow forward, Aleksandr Kokorin, after suggestive holiday snaps of the two appeared online. The pair refuted the claims, and said they were in Miami with their girlfriends and larking around at the time, but they are still asked about these photos in every interview.
Twice, former champions Rubin Kazan have wanted to buy him but Mamayev opted to stay and fight for a first-team place at CSKA.