Anzhi Makhachkala, the big-spending Russian club, have claimed an interest in Arsenal and Holland forward Robin van Persie, with the club’s current caretaker manager Roberto Carlos saying that they are keeping tabs on the Gunners skipper.
The Russian club, backed by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov, signed striker Samuel Eto’o in August from Internazionale on wages estimated at around £8.7m per year. The club from Dagestan, but whose players train and live in Moscow, only travelling to Dagestan for home matches, have also purchased former Chelsea wing-back Yuri Zhirkov and the talented Hungarian winger Balazs Dzsudzak from PSV Eindhoven as they look to make their mark on football in Russia.
Carlos, the former Brazilian international, now 38, was the club’s first big-name arrival in February, and he has revealed that the club are also tracking Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and are keeping tabs on another couple of talented stars of world football, as a club that has been seen as nothing more than their owners vanity project look to make waves throughout European football – despite the fact that they currently lie just 8th in the Russian Premier League.
Speaking to French TV show Canal Football Club, Carlos revealed: “We want to make a club the calibre of Real Madrid or Barcelona.”
When asked about potential moves for players, World Cup winner Carlos said: “Anelka is not the only player.
“Nene from PSG and Van Persie from Arsenal are players we are following. And Neymar? I talked to him.
“If Real, Barca or Manchester United cannot pay the transfer fee, we will pay it. Suleyman Kerimov can offer what he wants.”
Arsenal captain van Persie sees his contract at the Emirates Stadium run out in the summer of 2013, and the club will be wary of allowing him to head into the final year of his deal like they did with Samir Nasri. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has already intimated his interest in the Dutchman as a replacement for wantaway Carlos Tevez.