Spartak keen on bringing Zhirkov back to Moscow from Chelsea

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Yuri Zhirkov could make a return to Russia when the next transfer window opens in January after struggling to hold down a first-team place at Chelsea.

The 27-year-old only made a handful of Premier League opportunities last season after moving from CSKA Moscow for a fee reported to be in the region of £18m.

And it seems that he is likely to be the second string for first-choice left-back Ashley Cole again for the current campaign, with Chelsea 6/5 to successfully defend the Premier League title this season.

Spartak Moscow have been monitoring Zhirkov’s situation and manager Valeri Karpin is keen to utilise the versatile left-sided player in his own team.

Karpin has admitted that he was keen to sign Zhirkov in the previous transfer window, but failed to make an offer after rivals Zenit St. Petersburg saw their approach rejected.

According to the Mail, Karpin said: “I was interested, I am now and I will be in the winter.”

Chelsea also won the FA Cup last season, but have made success in the Champions League one of their cheif goals for the current campaign.

They are 11/2 to lift the trophy for the first time and 2/9 to finish at the top of the Group F, which also includes Spartak Moscow, before progressing to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Russia boss Dick Advocaat would be one of those keen to see Zhirkov get a greater number of first-team opportunities.

He feels that the national team is being hindered by the number of Russians playing in the Premier League that are spending large amounts of time on the bench, including Roman Pavyluchenko at Tottenham and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov at Everton.

Didier Drogba was Chelsea’s main source of goals last season and is 2/1 to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer this campaign. See the whole market.

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