The match for the Russian Super Cup did not go as many expected. CSKA pleasantly surprised and managed not only to contain Zenit, crowded with high-quality Latin American legionnaires, tightly closing Malcom and Claudinho, but at the same time he himself was much closer to a goal. This is confirmed by the huge difference in the number of shots (15:4) and several good moments at the gate of Mikhail Kerzhakov. However, the CSKA team failed to realize them and suffered an offensive defeat in a penalty shootout, letting their rivals go ahead not only in terms of the number of victories in this tournament, but also in terms of the total number of trophies.
And although at the end of the meeting, many experts hastened to praise the wards of Vladimir Fedotov and admitted that they were closer to success, pointed to problems with the composition. Ex-mentor of the red-blues Valery Gazzaev called the conduct of a competent transfer campaign a necessary condition for the fight for the gold of the championship of Russia, the same thoughts were voiced by the former midfielder of Zenit Andrei Arshavin.
"CSKA needs to acquire players. When Nababkin comes out instead of Diveev, the quality is different. With all due respect, CSKA needs strengthening, I'm sure it will be, but the question is how good and how fast, "said the former Arsenal football player on Match TV.
The case of Diveev and Nababkin once again testifies to the shortage of personnel in CSKA, which only worsens during periods when the main performers suffer from various kinds of injuries. As Fedotov admitted at the end of the match, Igor had an ankle ache at half-time, which is why he had to be replaced. And although this did not play an important role in this particular confrontation, it can have serious consequences in the long run. Especially considering the fact that the army team is already experiencing a shortage of quality players in this line.
On paper, CSKA has five specialized central defenders, which should be enough when choosing a 3-4-2-1 formation. But if you dig deeper, it becomes clear that not all of them correspond to the level of the contender for RPL medals. First of all, we are talking about young Vadim Karpov and Matvey Lukin, who only moved to the adult level last season. So far, Ilya Agapov, who was bought in January from Paris NN, cannot be attributed to those. At the level of the middle peasant, he looked pretty good and enjoyed the confidence of Mikhail Galaktionov, but in the new team he could not win the competition, and in July he also received a lateral ligament injury. So far, the timing of its return to service has not been announced.
Therefore, even in the last championship, Baktiyor Zainutdinov came out in the center three, and in the meeting with Zenit, this role was played by Moises, who also prefers to operate on the left flank. In general, this corresponds to the realities of modern football, when nominal laterals are put in a more defensive position, thereby getting an additional option to move the ball forward. But it's one thing when it happens at the behest of the coach, another because of the lack of alternatives. And the latter clearly confirms the appearance of Nababkin on the field, due to his age, he no longer demonstrates his former stability.
At the same time, now the 36-year-old veteran remains almost the only replacement not only for one of the central defenders, but also for the right lateral Milan Gajic. And if in the top three Nababkin is still able to benefit due to experience and choice of position, then on the flank it is extremely difficult for him. Mario Fernandez was supposed to close this gap, but after the failure of his transfer, the army team has no choice but to start looking for another player in this role. And according to journalist Ivan Karpov, this work is already underway. Moreover, candidates for the opposite edge are also being considered, where a vacancy may well arise in the event of Zainutdinov's departure to Besiktas.
Thus, CSKA already needs at least two newcomers to the defensive line, and in case of an unfortunate set of circumstances, it will have to look for three at once. And this despite the fact that in other lines the situation is just as far from ideal. A little concern is caused by the average, where there are not only high-quality legionnaires in the person of Victor Mendes and Sasha Zdelar, but also Maxim Mukhin and Ivan Oblyakov, who over the past year reached a qualitatively new level. And if it were not for health problems, it would be he who would combine the functions of an attacking and central insider midfielder in the match for the Super Bowl.
And yet Oblyakov is not the breakthrough player that the army team needs, given their bet on explosive, counterattacking football. Jesús Medina and Jorge Carrascal were perfect for implementing this strategy, being able to get away from their guardians at speed, beat one-on-one and complete the episode. But the first has already left the VEB Arena and joined Spartak, and the second may leave in the near future. According to Metaratings, the Colombian wanted to go after his former teammate, but the red and white refused to negotiate because of his personal qualities. Allegedly, because of his character, he is able to destabilize the team.
However, the sale of Carrascal is not excluded. Moreover, three contenders for it are called at once - PAOK, Vasco da Gama and Atletico Paranaense. Moreover, the interest in him on the part of the latter was confirmed by the director of the red-blue communications Kirill Breido. And this makes it clear that by the start of the new season, CSKA may lose two bright legionnaires at once, who played an important role in organizing the attack.
If this happens, then CSKA will almost completely lose variability in the attacking line. Apart from the youth, only Fyodor Chalov, Anton Zabolotny and Adolfo Gaich will remain at Fedotov's disposal, which is unlikely to be enough not only to compete with Zenit, but also with the conditional Spartak, Lokomotiv, Krasnodar and Dynamo. Yes, the first one had a great previous competitive year and scored 30 (24 + 6) points in the "goal + pass" system in all tournaments, but the rest did not look so bright. His compatriot, according to tradition, was much less effective (4 + 5), although he brought significant benefits, and the Argentine failed again. Before the winter break, he chalked up two goals and assists for the red-blues, and on loan he looked faded. In 16 games for Verona, he scored twice and once acted as an assistant.
The downside lies in the fact that Zabolotny and Gaich are attackers of approximately the same plan, and it will be impossible to achieve tactical diversity in attack with them. And that's not taking into account their problems with implementation - one of the key attributes for any classy forward. Therefore, the acquisition of a player in this role seems to be one of the most important tasks for CSKA. Especially if Adolfo again fails to convince Fedotov and is forced to go on another loan.
But despite the large number of understaffed positions, so far the army men are rather passive in the market. A week before the start of the championship of Russia, they did not issue a single transfer, and there are not many rumors about possible newcomers. If we talk about representatives of the defense, the media talked about the interest of the red-blues in Alexei Sutormin from Zenit, Glenn Bale from Krylia Sovetov, and Sport-Express reported that CSKA, along with Spartak, offered the left lateral Pedrinho, who previously defended the colors of Atletico Paranaense. However, so far none of them has been in Moscow, and the agent of the defender of Samara, Steiner Dietz, has already denied rumors about negotiations with Muscovites.
Yes, there was information about the potential purchase of Koray Gunther from Verona, but there has been no development yet. At the same time, recently the German has been increasingly associated with Krasnodar. According to RB Sport, representatives of the bulls have already gone to Italy to complete the deal.
Until recently, the press also discussed possible transfers to CSKA of Lokomotiv midfielders Rifat Zhemaletdinov and Anton Miranchuk. But even here, the current silver medalists have not yet succeeded. Moreover, the press service of the railway workers has already managed to declare their unwillingness to give both to either a direct competitor or anyone else.
"The period of transitions is always accompanied by a lot of rumors and stuffing. The club does not plan to part with Zhemaletdinov and Miranchuk. Both are important players of the team," said the head of the press service of Lokomotiv Artem Zagumennov.
The story around Diego Valdez has not been confirmed either. As reported by El Futbolero Chile, the attacking midfielder himself asked to release him from "America", and CSKA expressed its willingness to pay € 7 million for him.
As for the forwards, Paulinho from Sporting was mentioned in the context of CSKA. Last season, the 30-year-old Portuguese scored 15 goals and gave 12 assists in all competitions, and some of them came in key confrontations in European competitions. So, he scored three (1 + 2) points in the "goal + pass" system in meetings with Tottenham in the Champions League, and then helped the "lions" pass Arsenal in the Europa League. At home, he distinguished himself, and at a party he assisted his partner. And who knows how the two-legged duel with Juventus would have turned out if he had not missed it due to injury.
Moreover, Paulinho's entourage has a positive view of his move to Russia. So, in a conversation with Sports.ru, the agent of the Portuguese Fernando Meira admitted that although he had not received an official offer from CSKA, he considers this step "good for him." The same can be said about the army men themselves, who are able to get at their disposal an experienced and skilled striker who has not only solid dimensions (187 centimeters), but also good speed data and a shot.
But even if in the coming week the army team will be able to close a couple of deals and slightly strengthen the squad, the recruits will have practically no time to adapt. In the first two rounds, Fedotov's wards are waiting for difficult trips to Ural and Akhmat, and in the third - a derby with Lokomotiv, the result of which can be of paramount importance in the context of the struggle for awards. And despite the impressive performance in the Super Cup, CSKA is still difficult to call him a favorite.