Why Artem Dzyuba would be a wasteful signing that Wolves should avoid
According to the Birmingham Live, Wolves have been credited with an interest in Russian international striker Artem Dzyuba, with the report suggesting that the Black Country outfit had their scouts in attendance to keep an eye on the 31-year-old during the recent international break.
Dzyuba, who helped Russia complete a 2-1 comeback victory over Scotland at Hampden Park on Friday, caught the attention of the scouts with his superb all-around performance and Wolves are weighing up the possibility of nabbing him for free next summer, with the 31-year-old’s contract at Zenit St. Petersburg set to expire at the end of the season. (h/t Birmingham Live)
The same report suggests that Dzyuba is keen to test his credentials in the Premier League, having spent his entire playing career in his native Russia.
Wolves, though, aren’t the only Premier League side who have the towering centre-forward on their radar, with the Birmingham Live claiming that Everton and Crystal Palace are also monitoring the situation.
The 31-year-old, who boasts of a remarkable scoring record of 21 goals in 38 senior international appearances for Russia, was one of the driving forces behind his nation’s surge to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on their home soil last summer, scoring thrice in the process.
A youth product of Spartak Moscow, Dzyuba scored 38 goals in 166 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions and also enjoyed a fruitful stint at FC Rostov before switching boats to join Zenit in 2015.
As a matter of fact, 6ft. 5-inch Moscow mauler has hit some impressive numbers in the Russian top-flight since then, registering 56 goals and 41 assists in 148 appearances across all competitions, and that kind of strike rate has prompted the Premier League clubs to pursue a keen interest in the Russian international, despite his advancing years.
To put things into perspective, Wolves brought in Patrick Cutrone as an out-and-out centre-forward from AC Milan this summer to provide cover and competition for last season’s top-scorer Raul Jimenez and it is difficult to see how someone like Dzyuba would fit into Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans.
Dzyuba has carved out a massive reputation for himself as a bonafide goalscorer in Russia but it is imperative to mention here that he hasn’t played outside his homeland thus far in his career.
With that in mind, a potential switch to the intense atmosphere of the Premier League next summer might not be ideal for him at this stage of his career and we all know that goals in Russia are hardly ever exchangeable for ones in the English top-flight.
Noted for his smart hold up play, imposing physicality, aerial ability and clinical finishing inside the box, the 31-year-old lacks the pace to fit seamlessly into Nuno Santo’s philosophy and, while the Russian might offer great value on a free transfer with his experience and work-rate, Wolves would be better off shifting their focus to other areas of their squad.
Jimenez has already hit the ground running this season and the Mexican is expected to be a key part of the club’s plans moving forward in the Premier League, as well as in the Europa League, this term, while Cutrone has also shown strong signs of promise.
In Cutrone, Jimenez and Jota, Wolves have three quality strikers up top, with each boasting of a different set to attributes to add a certain dimension to the club’s attacking unit.
Hence, it is easy to see that Dzyuba, who is noted for his finishing, physicality and link-up play won’t offer anything extra in that regard and he won’t really be a massive upgrade on what they already have.
On the contrary, Nuno Santo should continue to show confidence in the likes Cutrone and Jota, both of whom are still very young and have plenty of potential to make a big name for themselves in the Premier League in the future.
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All in all, the fans at Molineux should be happy to let the rumours linking Wolves to Dzyuba pass by silently without a move actually materializing.